Halloween Top 13: The Devil Made Me Do It #13- Drive Angry (2011)

There's a lot of chatter about Drive starring Ryan Gosling as a cooler than cool getaway driver, but this is the start of The Halloween Top 13 and I'm not about to let it get cool in The Lair one bit.That's because for 13 days I'm going to be turning up the heat on all the demons, devils, possessions, and Armageddon-esque action right up until Halloween. Welcome everyone to The Halloween Top 13: The Devil Made Me Do It. While Drive might be the the most talked about car film this year, if Satan's on your tail, good looks and a satin jacket are not going to be enough. You're going to need to get mad, you're going to have to be mean, you're going to have to get angry. You're going to have to hire Nicolas Cage, give him crazy blonde hair, and send him on a mission. Something like escaping from Hell in a car to track down a cult of Satanists looking to bring about Hell on Earth by killing your granddaughter. It just so happens that someone did just that, and coming in at #13 on the countdown, is 2011's Drive Angry.

It all begins when John Milton (Cage) escapes from hell in a car... stop me if you've heard this one. There is more. He makes an unlikely alliance with Piper (Amber Heard), an alluring blonde waitress with a tricked out ride,  gets perused by the Accountant (William Fichtner), Satan's retrieval service, and gets ever closer to Jonah King (Billy Burke), the leader of the cult. Along the way, Milton kills a an incredible number of badguys in a style I could only compare to 2007's Shoot 'Em Up. (Like that film Drive Angry seems aware of its format without being too coy and cloying about it.) Along the way, Milton gets help from his friend Webster (David Morse), goes toe to toe with the police captain (Tom Atkins), and shoots about fifteen guys while smoking a cigar, drinking jack, and having sex. And I do mean at the same time. Life out of Hell is no bed of roses, and this Milton is not about to let Paradise get lost. (Ok, his granddaughter's name wasn't Paradise, but wouldn't that have been great.)

So I bet there's a few confused looks out there. Well let me clear a few things up. I exclude any title I've reviewed before on The LBL from being chosen for the countdown. That means there's some big titles that I have to leave off, and some I've avoided that I finally get to talk about. I also get to have some fun, and folks, I'm here to tell you that Drive Angry  is a lot of fun. It's the perfect kind of flick to throw on when you have some friends over to carve a pumpkin or before you go out to a haunted house. It's exciting, it's got a fair amount of splatter (though the "Filmed in 3D " look detracts from this a great deal.), and it's got Nic Cage running from the Devil in an assortment of classic cars. Now I don't know a manifold from a marigold, but I know awesome cars when I see them. Drive Angry takes a couple of pages from the 70's grindhouse, the car flick, the revenge film, the Satanic Cult, and a generous helping of nudity, balls them all up, and lights them on fire.

Now a few words on Nic Cage. There's going over the top. That's, say, Adam West or Shatner. Then there's going Nic Cage. Which means going over the top and then you just keep going until someone calls cut. I'm so glad they didn't. Cage doesn't as much chew the scenery as devour everything around him. It took all of Amber Heard's sexual charms to even make her blandly named character Piper memorable. Actually that's not fair, the All the Boys Love Mandy Lane actress proves to be a strong, capable foil for Cage without any romantic overtones necessary. Still this is Cage's movie, that is until William Fichtner shows up. The character actor, who was seen recently on Entourage, has never been better. As The Accountant, Satan's agent on Earth, Fichtner gives off a quiet menace that he proves to be able to backup. (Don't try and sneak up on The Devil's tight bro with a bat.) While Cage is the whirling dervish in this film, Fichtner is the calm in the center of the storm. The Accountant also serves to remind us that demons are not always bad, as long as it all ends up their way.

Director Patrick Lussier impressed me a few years back with a reasonable remake of My Bloody Valentine though once again the 3-D filming detracts from the enjoyment of the home viewer. His next project is picking up the reins of the Halloween franchise, and here's to hoping he can leave Michael Myers in 2 dimensions. Drive Angry sets itself apart by neither taking itself too seriously or trying to become a cult movie by force. In doing so, Lussier has created a film that deserves any cult that it gets. That is unless that cult is looking to steal a baby to bring about Hell on Earth. Because then they'll have to answer to Nic Cage with the pedal to the metal, and no one wants that. Except me, in the sequel.

That brings us to the end of #13. Join us back here tomorrow for #12 on the countdown, and remember if you want to be a part of The Halloween Top 13: The Devil Made Me Do It, then send me your list of favorites to thelightningbug (@) Before I go, let me direct your attention back to the top of the page to the awesome banner. That was custom made for me by my friend V. Daniel Leslie, and I can't thank him enough for a job well done!

Bugg Rating 


  1. Fichtner was definitely the best part of this movie for me. Didn't see it in 3D however.

    And I agree: leave Michael Meyers in 2D! The Shape should be flat.

  2. I enjoyed this well enough. It was ridiculous, but that's usually a good thing when Cage is involved. Lussier is a genuinely fun director and I'd like to see him keep improving. Or just keep casting William Fichtner in stuff.

  3. jervaise brooke hamsterOctober 19, 2011 at 11:51 PM

    Amber Heard is one of the hottest chicks of all-time.

  4. Ryan, if the shape isn't flat, something has gone wrong. Also bring back The Shape!

    Emily, It was ridiculous but it was also a ridiculous amount of fun!

    hamster- too bad she's on the other team, huh.


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