Emerson Graham’s nights as a driver are filled with annoyances and inconveniences, but until tonight, never attacks and disappearances. After picking up a mysterious passenger her evening goes from working a job to performing a quest as they must race against the clock to defeat a force of evil. The meter is running.

As the film started, I wondered: is this the inevitable millennial rides share horror you knew was eventually coming? movie poster for Driven (2019)

Standup comic wannabe Emerson (Casey Dillard) is a driver for the fictional app-driven ride share program Ferry.  The evening goes on in a normal-annoying way anyone in the service sector can identify with.

Until the next customer, a hooded figure with a mysterious errand: Roger (Richard Speight, Jr.). Roger’s is a multi-stop ride, and at each stop … it looks pretty shady, until for her own safety Emerson tries to get him to leave. But it’s not that easy.

You see, for want of a better word, Roger is hunting demons. And he needs Emerson’s help.

This is not so much a comedy horror as it is a horror movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously and remembers that humans still laugh even in the middle of tragedy. Emerson practices her standup whenever she’s alone in the car, but the other protagonist — and, indeed, the situation itself — keep up beat for beat.

And while we only know a few hours of these peoples’ time, we come to care for them and their mission. There is a growing feeling of peril as they collect the necessary ingredients to stop this influx of, for want of a better word, demons.

Interestingly, the camera never strays very far from the interior of the car. It’s like a single-room film, it all takes place within touching distance of Emerson’s sister’s borrowed vehicle. And the metaphor of getting out of the car representing leaving one’s comfort zone and taking risks is clear but not ham-handed.

Driven is also a lovely example of LGBT representation, as Emerson has a female ex, though orientation is never the focus or meaning of the film or character. As a young horror lover I would have killed to see such a character.

Overall, Driven is utterly fun and charming, and even once the basic game of the film is clear, it still surprises a few laughs out of you, and not a few hmmmm’s.

DRIVEN
RATING:R
Runtime:90 Mins.
Directed By:
Glenn Payne
Written By:
Casey Dillard