Driven

Emerson (Casey Dillard) is a driver for Ferry (think Uber or Lyft). As she drives her routes, between cranky and inconsiderate customers, she passes the time by practicing her standup routine from her experiences with various passengers. These first moments are fun and light, Dillard is great when she is by herself. She has her nightly routine down, complete with spritzes of her favorite essential oils. But, as fate would have it, Roger (Richard Speight Jr.) ends up as one of her customers. The mysterious man promises Emerson that there will be plenty of stops and if she hangs with him, a sizable tip. She hesitantly agrees, money is hard to come by for her these days and the promise of a big tip is too hard to pass up.

As the evening progresses, it is clear that her new passenger is not a typical fare. Often running to the car and asking her to quickly leave. On one such instance he leaves a bloody hand print on her window and the story takes off on a whirlwind night of fighting demons (for lack of a better word) and saving Roger from a family curse.

The production itself is decent enough, the use of lighting in particular stands out. For a film taking place entirely in a single car there is only so many camera angles you can use, but there is enough creativity to keep you stimulated. Unfortunately, that is where the bright spots end. The story is straight forward, but with obvious budget constraints there is a whole lot of the plot that doesn’t quite fit. As opposed to showing the audience the ins and outs of our heroes’ family curse, we are forced to hear it overly explained by the two leads in a couple clunky and disjointed scenes. They are supposed to be fighting evil spirits, but all we see are regular people that walk around and tilt their heads like a bad zombie flick. They are attacked on several occasions, usually shutting their car door resolves any real issues they run into. The high stakes of fighting demons never translate onto screen and the peril and “horror” the characters go through is hollow and pointless.

The two leads don’t have chemistry, waiting for one to finish their line so they can blurt out their own. Emerson is supposed to be a stand-up comedian but all her jokes seemed very forced and fall flat. For a film comprised of mainly two people, you need to believe them and the situation they are in. In one scene Roger yells angrily at Emerson, saying he is done with her, only to apologize and fill her in on his secrets literally one minute later.  

Director Glenn Payne is no stranger to low budget indie films, there is a certain competency that you can see, but the weak story and questionable acting sink anything this film had going for it from the beginning. With so many other options hitting VOD and other online platforms, this should be avoided.

1 out of 5

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