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Review: DRIVEN (2019)

Do you remember the movie Collateral? The one with Jamie Foxx as a cab driver forced to drive hitman Tom Cruise from kill to kill? I suppose the quick and lazy way to describe Driven would be to call it Collateral, but with demons. And the laughs are intentional.

Emerson (Casey Dillard, Earthrise, Killer Concept) is a rideshare driver. What she wants to be is a stand-up comedian, and she practices her routine in the car between customers. That and agonize over her recent breakup with Jess (Maddie Ludt). But that’s about to change when she gets a call to pick up Roger (Richard Speight Jr., Supernatural, The Evil Gene).

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While he seems a bit odd, it looks like a good paying gig. Multiple stops with waits in between, a bit suspicious, but it’s money. However, when he starts acting a bit too sketchy, Emerson orders him out of the car. When he responds with a large knife, things get bad. When the demons turn up, then it really gets messy.

Low budget films are frequently shot in just one or two locations. In the case of Driven, that location is Emerson’s car. Or if not in it, then right outside it, like when they stop for gas. Not only is this quite an accomplishment, but it also gives the film a claustrophobic feel. And that is a fitting feeling for this movie.

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Although billed as a horror-comedy, Driven is more of a horror film with the occasional funny moments. It also knows that some of its situations aren’t exactly unique and treats them with a less than serious attitude. Such as the scene where Emerson and her ex are having a deep conversation, and she suddenly tosses salt on her to be sure she’s not a demon. It’s not so much mocking the genre as it is subverting its clichés.

That Driven can do this while delivering scares and a decidedly tense climax is no small feat. Especially since it all has to take place in or around the car. Hell, it’s hard to make a road film entirely in a car. Director Glenn Payne and writer Casey Dillard show tremendous creativity when it comes to finding ways to deliver these scares without being too contrived or repetitive.

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An enjoyably low-key and low budget film, Driven will be released by Uncork’d Entertainment on DVD and Digital June 16th. You can check the film’s Facebook page for updates.

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