FOX HUNT DRIVE
Firstly, I’d just like to say a big thank you to Mitch Swan over at Millenial Public Relations for allowing me early access to an online screener of the Drama/Thriller “Fox Hunt Drive”, Co-Written by Adam Armstrong and Marcus Devivo, and Directed by Drew Walkup (this trio’s first feature length film). Fox Hunt Drive is primarily a contained double act that deals in the new age world of ride-sharing. Struggling out-of-work architect, Alison Meyers (played by Lizzie Zerebko in her first leading role) works nights in order to keep her head above water after failing to land a design job. At the end of yet another shift, she decides to take on one last passenger (Michael Olavson), a mystery man who is in the midst of a shift himself – one that will lead Alison through a night of one twist and turn after another as she ends up well and truly in over her head. The film also stars Edward Craig, Ryan Forrestal, Sam Lukowski, and J.R Ridge.
The whole rideshare plot device has become an interesting one in both the horror and thriller genres in recent years. There’s been some good like “Ryde” or “The Final Ride”, and some not so good e.g. “Rideshare”. There’s been plenty of potential to do something new and inventive with the premise and so perhaps that’s where Fox Hunt Drive winds up elevating itself a little more from its counterparts. Walkup’s production values are undeniably impressive given the film’s modest budget. DP, Anthony Kuhnz’s near twenty years experience behind the camera certainly shows. He knows how to effectively light both car interiors and general exteriors in a natural way. The framing is crisp and the overall edit comes together fairly tightly. The audio track is clean, but unfortunately the score ends up lacking any kind of distinction – even the sound design is on the empty side. By and large, the strongest attribute on display in Fox Hunt Drive is the pairing of Lizzie and Michael, both of whom turn in credible performances with good dynamics inside a highly charged atmosphere built around ambiguity. Olavson has a Dominic Cooper (Dead Man Down and The Devil’s Double) like quality and intensity to him, and Zerebko’s strong from the moment she divulges what actually constitutes a plan and how you consummate said plan (via American Psycho style first person narration). The mystery builds throughout the film with a nice little twist to bring it full circle.
The complaints that I do have with Fox Hunt Drive are mostly around some of the character’s decision making and lack of urgency during pivotal dramatic moments. In addition, the second act just sort of plateau’s. There’s a particularly serious event that occurs that kicks the middle act into gear but sadly it never really ends up getting out of first – at least not until the final stages. At the time of the aforementioned event (of which I won’t divulge for fear of spoilers), the passenger of the vehicle fails to question the other party regarding their actions, nor anything that ultimately led to the incident. I was baffled as to why he didn’t, especially given that he so openly offers up his assistance to deal with the fallout. In a later scene, Alison appears completely calm and in control when thrust into an unnerving social situation inside a suburban house filled with colorful characters that include the likes of “Low Boy” (Lukowski) and Neil (Ridge). It seems baseless given everything we’ve witnessed with her up until that point. And even in retrospect, it throws plans for a loop that no one would shoulder without faze in the way she does. Other questionable choices characters make include turning their back on someone clearly questionable, and even down to the great heights of one character’s level of envy that’s required for things to eventually play out the way they do. It’s a bit of a tough sell at times.
Fox Hunt Drive is a solid 85-minute thriller and debut from writers, Armstrong and Devivo and up and coming director Drew Walkup. Sure, it’s reminiscent of a number of other films with a similar approach, but it’s well done all the same. Both the camera work, lighting, and sound are skillful, and the standard of acting is rather formidable considering most of this cast have limited, if any at all, feature film experience. Lizzie and Michael deserve plenty of praise for their wholesome performances and the characters prove to be compelling in different ways. Unfortunately, the stagnant course that the second act sets off on does hurt the film a touch. So to some of the choices made by characters that end up calling credibility into question in regard to certain developments. The twist is quite a good one though. Although with hindsight maybe it’s telegraphed a little prematurely. All in all, there’s plenty more to like on display in Fox Hunt Drive than not. You can check out the official trailer below and be sure to keep an eye out for the wider release date coming soon!
Fox Hunt Drive – 6/10