Cinema/TV, Film Notes

FrightFest review – Driven

My notes on Driven

A supernatural, black comic spin on Collateral, Driven is amusingly erratic in pursuing its high concept plot.  The most sustained running joke isn’t a worn-thin verbal tic about what kind of menace is stalking the town but the way that it’s established early on that in-many-senses driven demon hunter Roger (Richard Speight Jr) is on a strict schedule to lift a family curse that has unleashed evil spirits into the world – but the film then has him get caught up in the rigmarole of an Uber-like taxi driver/aspirant stand-up comedian’s complicated life, which includes serious plumbing issues and an ex (Maddie Ludt) she claims was more controlling than any evil entity.  Actress-screenwriter Casey Dillard gives herself a lot of material as driver Emerson Graham, but generously lets uptight straight man Speight get most of the laughs with his reactions to the way she can’t get past her own life even as she realises the importance of his mission.  The possessees don’t have much more than snarliness to signify their state, but several of the entities – notably the first we see, played by Jaime Adams – have a disturbing presence which invests the discursive chatter with some suspense even as Emerson (and the film) take a roundabout tour throughout the night.  For much of the running time, it’s just two people in a cab gabbing – and grating on each other’s nerves – but the talk is strong enough to sustain the interest.  It features one of this year’s most oddly recurrent FrightFest tropes – the use of salt to see off demons.  Directed by Glenn Payne.


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