27th Aug2019

Frightfest 2019: ‘The Drone’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Alex Essoe, John Brotherton, Christopher Matthew Cook, Rex Linn, Anita Briem, Harvey B. Jackson, Gonzalo Menendez, Neil Sandilands | Written by Al Kaplan, Jon Kaplan, Jordan Rubin | Directed by Jordan Rubin


Right so we’ve got a serial killer into black magic. Child’s Play anyone? Then we’ve got director Jordan Rubin, the man behind horror spoof Zombeavers. And we have a drone. Yes, a drone. So what do we have in film though? Well, one of the funniest genre parodies to hit screens in years!

The Drone tells the story of serial killer The Violator who, just before the police break into his home to arrest him, invokes black magic and downloads his soul into the commercial drone he used to stalk victims. Finding the abandoned drone after moving into their new photographer Chris is more than happy to claim the smart technology as his own. His wife Rachel however is less than enthused; and with good reason… The neighbours start disappearing and mysterious emails appear, as Rachel and Chris gradually realise the full horror of adopting the psychotic equipment.

OK, OK. So no-one is going to go into a film about a killer drone and expect anything other than a good time are they? Because a good time is certainly what Jordan Rubin’s film delivers. The reason The Drone works so well because the entire thing is played entirely straight by leads Alex Essoe and John Brotherton, even when they’re delivering the craziest lines of the out-there script!

And the script is definitely out there. Especially when it comes the titular drone and it’s killing spree. Surprisingly The Drone uses the tropes of slasher movies and applied them to the drone itself, the spinning rotors replacing the sharpened edge of a blade, the machine itself slowly stalking its prey from afar, the camera lingering on it’s subjects in much the same way the we’re shown the killers POV in many a classic 80s slasher. Oh, and like the crazy lines in the script, The Drone doesn’t take the kills too seriously either – including a particulary ridiculous kill involving some nasty rectal destruction!

Whilst the film is packed with characters it’s actually the drone itself that is the most interesting. Somehow The Drone‘s effects team manages to make this machine feel [almost] human. The glowing red lights reminiscent of the glaring eyes of a killer and the undergarriage looking remarkably like a deliriously evil grin. And you can’t help but crack into a grin yourself when you see the drone get upgraded!

In terms of the human cast Alex Essoe is fantastic as the put-upon wife who has a ridiculous phobia of technology (just wait to you here HER backstory), she plays the vulnerable victim brilliantly before turning the trope on its head ond fighting back against her robotic attacker – oh, and she gets one of the funniest lines in the film as the credits roll. Neil Sandilands, who played The Thinker on the fourth season of The Flash, is also a highlight – he’s absolutely superb in the role of The Violator. He sublimely manages to pastiche Brad Dourif’s role in Child’s Play during the opening, before unleashing a tremendously maniacal performance once the drone finds it’s voice. Literally.

With a ridiculous reveal that ties all this films plot together in as mental as way as the very idea of The Drone, Jordan Rubin is proving himself as adept at spoofing the horror genre as Jerry and David Zucker were at spoofing cops shows and disaster movies!

**** 4/5

The Drone screened at this years Arrow Video Frightfest on Saturday August 24th 2019.


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