Reel Advice from the Video Store Guy
By Steve Anderson
January 5th, 2020

The Drone

The Drone
Directed by Jordan Rubin
Written by Jordan Rubin, Al Kaplan, Jon Kaplan
Starring John Brotherton, Alex Essoe, Anita Briem
81 mins

Sometimes the best horror is the most plausible, and that's what makes "The Drone" at least a little scary on the surface. Drones, after all, are everywhere, and this ubiquitous toy-tools have a great potential for terror. But this time, Lionsgate is going to put a little extra spin on the notion that may either make this pretty scary or too ludicrous to stand on its own.

"The Drone" follows a young couple, recently married, who run afoul of one of these tiny drone aircraft. Okay, fine, you may say, but this drone is different. Because in a thoroughly "Child's Play" twist, this particular drone is possessed by the spirit of a serial killer. And it's more than happy to resume its old murderous ways, which it attempts to do against our young newlyweds. Now the duo will have to cement their team a lot earlier than expected in a fight for their lives against a three-pound hunk of flying plastic.

And that's where this whole mess starts. Theoretically, this should be solved by the application of a Louisville Slugger. At worst, one good solid blast of 12-gauge buckshot should be enough to send this drone back to Damballa. Even assuming that "dark forces keep it alive", we're still talking about a hunk of plastic.

Watching the first minute and a half also puts up a disturbing picture; the drone flies at sidewalk-level, past a pedestrian, and the walker visibly takes no notice of the drone. I don't know about you, but if I'm out walking at night and a drone flew past me, I'd probably turn around myself to look and see where it was going. This drone went bombing along like nothing was going on, and everyone else seemed to agree.

It's the little things that make this a goofy, outlandish romp, not just the big premise that buckles like a house made of Kleenex in the middle of a hurricane. For instance, when the SWAT team gradually breaks into the killer's apartment, check out the newspaper on the wall with the headline "Killer Stalked Her 3 Days". Apparently, the local newspaper is so bereft of creativity that it is literally named NewsPaper. Bonus points for featuring "Evil Ernie" mainstay Smiley the Psychotic Button as part of the "files deleted" screen on the computer, though.

The movie will be filled with weird moments and scenes like this. You too can be vaguely unnerved by a six year old telling his--possibly her, I may have missed it--father that he or she hopes a serial killer will rot in hell.

Sadly, the rest of the plot is a smidge predictable, including how the haunted drone tries to sow discord in the newlyweds' lives with its random movements and photographic chicanery. This includes some downright spooky chicanery involving drone / PC pairings and computer searches. At one point, it manages to perform Google searches.

It's like watching "Fatal Attraction," only this time, the part of Alexandra Forrest is played by an inexpensive quad-rotor drone aircraft. That's weird enough to type, let alone script a whole movie around. What's next, "Silence of the Lambs," but the part of Dr. Hannibal Lecter is played by a Worx PowerShot pressure washer? "Friday the 13th," but Jason Voorhees is now a stick blender?

A movie this strange has no right to be dull, but strangely enough, this movie is rather dull. It's predictable, and where it isn't predictable, it's too ludicrous to be for real. The drone is alternately superhuman and perfectly normal, and things only get worse toward the ending.

Speaking of which, the ending is a bombastic masterpiece of ludicrosity. Not to spoiler too hard, but a drone aircraft is going to fly up a man's colon. The drone's brother will be beaten to death by a table after fixing the drone up, Terminator-style. The very last fight between the drone and the newlywed couple has some noteworthy Easter eggs, including the text on the "targeting" window from the drone's point of view, but the whole thing is too crazy to countenance. Seriously, entirely too crazy.

Special features include your choice of English or Spanish subtitles, a commentary track, a making-of featurette and trailers for "Rock, Paper, Scissors," "The Black String," "Matriarch," and "The Drone".

All in all, watching "The Drone" is a lot like watching that video of a blind kid playing football while Blind Witness shrieks "What the fuck is going on??" in the background. Because, really, that's what this is. This is a strange, sadly goofy sort of film that's unintentionally funny in spots but thoroughly predictable in others. There are elements that are trying to be truly hard-core, but they come off almost laughable. "The Drone" is a monument to the ludicrous, and should only be watched by those eager to make fun of a movie. Get your friends, get your drink of choice, and slap in a copy of "The Drone." You should laugh yourself into pants-wetting glee within the first half-hour or so.