Drive-Thru is a 2007 American horror black comedy film, directed by Brendan Cowles and Shane Kuhn, starring Leighton Meesterand Nicholas D'Agosto. It is set in Orange County, California and involves an evil clown as a serial killer. The film was released direct-to-video on May 29, 2007.
Brandon Meeks (Edward DeRuiter), Tony (Haven Lamoureux) and their girlfriends, Brittany (Jessica Landon) and Tiffany (Nicole Cavazos), arrive at the fast food restaurant Hella Burger. Upon placing an order at the drive-thru, the drive through teller insults them and Tony breaks into the restaurant to confront the teller. He searches the restaurant and Horny the Clown, the mascot of Hella Burger and the one who had been insulting the group over the drive-thru intercom, jumps out and attacks him. Brandon enters the restaurant to look for Tony and ends up finding him dead, with his face in the fryer. He is then attacked and murdered by Horny with a meat cleaver. Horny then proceeds outside and kills both Brittany and Tiffany when they discover the bodies of their boyfriends in the backseat.
Meanwhile, Mackenzie (Leighton Meester) is having a house party with her boyfriend Fisher (Nicholas D'Agosto), and friends Val (Sita Young), Van (Penn Badgley) and Starfire (Rachael Bella). The group find a ouija board and decide to ask it what their future will hold, to which the ouija board spells out "N1KLPL8", a message that is unclear until the next day when the group see a news bulletin, showing the message is the license plate on Brandon's car. The following day at school, Val is ambushed by Horny in the locker room. Mackenzie complains that someone stole her camera at the party, but after school the janitor, Lenny (Sean Whalen), gives her the camera.
Mackenzie stays behind to develop the photos, and discovers that they show the deaths of the four murdered teenagers. Horny chases Mackenzie into the gymnasium, where she finds Val's head has been placed in a modified microwave, to which it is turned on and causes Val's head to explode, killing her. Horny chases Mackenzie throughout the school, where she finds Lenny has been hanged, before bumping into a police officer, who fails to find any bodies. Mackenzie is taken down to the police station with her mom, Marcia (Melora Hardin), and dad, Bill (Paul Ganus), to be questioned by Detective Brenda Chase (Lola Glaudini) and Detective Dwayne Crockers (Larry Joe Campbell). The two detectives don't believe Mackenzie's story, but do suspect Lenny as the killer.
The next day, the detectives visit Jack Benjamin (John Gilbert), the owner of Hella Burger, who proves to be no help in solving the case. That night, Mackenzie and Fisher get ready to work at a carnival's haunted house. As they work, they have an argument with Chad (Tyler King) and Tina (Maliabeth Johnson), before they go into the ride. Suddenly, the lights are switched off. Chad is decapitated off-screen and Tina is stabbed to death by Horny. Mackenzie and Starfire enter the haunted house and find Fisher in a state of shock after witnessing the murders.
Mackenzie goes to visit Fisher in the hospital with Marcia. Mackenzie becomes annoyed with her mother as she now believes she is hiding something from her, as all the so far murdered teenagers are the children of her old high-school friends. Detective Chase overhears this and questions Tina's father, Bert (Robert Curtis Brown). Meanwhile, Horny attacks Spanky and Chuck inside the funhouse inside Hella Burger, killing them both.
As Mackenzie arrives home, Marcia finally admits that when she was young, she and her friends accidentally killed Archie Benjamin (Van De La Plante), Jack Benjamin's son, on his 18th birthday at Hella Burger, and now his vengeful spirit has returned from the dead to kill the children of his murderers as revenge for being bullied and harassed by them, along with the rest of his peers. Mackenzie and Fisher are attacked by Horny in a house, resulting in Mackenzie being knocked unconscious and Fisher being cornered. Fisher manages to unmask Horny, whose eyes become bloodshot upon looking at Horny's burnt and deformed face. Archie then hurls Fisher through a window. Meanwhile, Detective Chase and Detective Crockers come to the house and find Jack Benjamin behind his own bed, trying to hide from Archie, and they arrest him believing that he is behind the murders.
Mackenzie wakes up in Hella Burger, tied to a chair with her mouth gagged and surrounded by the bodies of her friends. A birthday cake is in front of her, as it is now her 18th birthday. Horny appears and reveals his true plan before dousing her with gasoline and holds a lit candle close to her face, about to repeat what Marcia did to him years ago. Marcia arrives and shoots Archie in the mouth but with no effect, who in turns chokes her out. Mackenzie takes a drink of whiskey from a flask that she has with her and holds it in her mouth. Horny torments her with another candle while cackling evilly at her face to face, unaware that Mackenzie has the whiskey in her mouth. She spits the whiskey at him, setting him on fire. Mackenzie and Marcia escape as Horny burns to death.
Mackenzie and Marcia rush to the hospital to see Fisher, whose eyes are still bloodshot, revealing that Archie's spirit has possessed Fisher's body. Mackenzie goes in to see him only to find the window open and his discarded clothes thrown outside on the ground, implying that Archie will continue his murderous rampage through Fisher's body. Detective Crockers goes to Hella Burger and places an order at the drive thru, only for Horny to jump onto the hood of his patrol car, killing him through the windshield off-screen.
Why It Doesn't Deserve A Burger
- The idea of making a fast-food restaurant killer feels like a hilariously bad fan-fiction.
- Hella-Burger’s mascot’s name, Horny the Clown, sounds super inappropriate for a kid’s fast-food restaurant, even if the film is meant for older viewers.
- Horny the Clown is an unoriginal horror movie villain who rips-off Pennywise the Dancing clown, Ronald McDonald, Sweet Tooth/Needles Kane and Freddy Krueger, even down to the point where they copy the “killer dies in a fire and comes back from the dead” background story from Freddy.
- Nearly all of the adolescent characters are portrayed as “rebellious teen” stereotypes.
- Poorly-written script and a very weak plotline.
- Absolutely bad acting, such as the actors playing the group of wiggers in the opening scene of the film.
- When the movie tries to have one of it’s funny moments, it falls completely flat and feels forced, like the running gag of Chase and Crocker’s names being called “cheese and crackers” several times.
- Most of Horny’s dialogue sounds something out of a bad action movie, a perfect example is the “Fast food kills, fucker” line.
- Some of the dialogue is even copied/stolen from the other movies like the “All work, no play” line from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.
- Several plot holes, such as how Horny the Clown can make pictures of his victims shortly before killing them.
- A pointless ending where it tires to set up for a sequel.
- A couple of the death scenes are a bit creative.
- Gordon Clapp did a wonderful job by putting so much enthusiasm into voicing Horny the Clown.
- It easily has that "so bad it's good" quality
Popcorn Pictures gave the film a negative review, writing, "Really hard to sit through despite the promise of a killer clown, Drive Thru is eighty-three minutes of pure fast food junk. Like a fast food burger, it may look good when you pick it up but as soon as you take your first bite, you realize you’ve made a horrible mistake and all you’ve got left is an ultimately fatty concoction of things that are bad for your health." Dread Central panned the film calling the film's dialogue "painfully bad" and criticized the film's ending. DVD Talk called it "routine slice and dice dreariness", criticizing its inadequate humor, "callous characterization", and lack of actual scares.