Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Raviv Ullman, "Diamond" Dallas Page, Talan Torriero
Directed by Tim Sullivan
Distributed by Image Entertainment
As a teen I was fucked up. Let's see, I was thrown out of three different high schools, I had a juvenile rap sheet a mile long, and finally I ended up getting my G.E.D. at the 61st Precinct Youth Program in Brooklyn, New York. Yep, ever the misfit. Basically, I had an authority problem (no one had more than me), and I took great pleasure in beating other people to bloody pulps instead of playing sports. Looking back, I cannot help but wonder what the fuck was wrong with me. Thankfully, I made it through, but some kids don't. They end up getting sent to detention centers. Places where all manner of screwed up shit can happen. Places like Driftwood.
Meet David Forrester (Ullman). After his brother's untimely death he's sent away to Driftwood, an adolescent correctional facility headed up by Captain Kennedy (Page). Things aren't too bad at first once the whole new guy hazing stuff gets out of the way, but then things take a bizarre twist -- David begins seeing the ghostly and mangled visage of a past inmate. As you can imagine, something really bad happened, and this kid's spirit will not rest until someone has paid the price for it.
Tim Sullivan has made a horror film for anyone who has ever felt out of place. Should you be of our troubled ilk, you'll be able to relate to the characters in an instant. While almost overly talky, Driftwood is a little light on the scares department at first, but once it gets cookin', the shit really hits the fan in spectacularly spectral ways. Fans can expect a ghost story in the same vein as del Toro's The Devil's Backbone and the film that inspired that, the Mexican classic Hasta el viento tiene miedo (roughly translated Even the Wind is Scared), mixed with The Lords of Discipline. Good, spooky, stuff!
Speaking of good stuff, this DVD is loaded with special features. First up are two commentary tracks -- one with director Sullivan and producer Chris Kobin, and then another with Sullivan and star "Diamond" Dallas Page. Of the two the one with Page is the more interesting listen. If you're only gonna dig on one, dig on that. Next up we get an alternate ending (with optional commentary) that I'm glad was cut in favor of the one in the film. Then we get two behind-the-scenes featurettes entitled Through the Gauntlet: Inside the Walls of Driftwood and Doing Time on the Set of Driftwood. The total run time for both is around thirty-five minutes or so. These are your standard cast and crew interviews that will take you through the world of Driftwood from conception to fruition. They're worth a look, but don't expect anything groundbreaking.
This brings us to the home stretch, which features nine deleted and extended scenes that clock in around eight minutes (each with optional commentary), a blooper scene between Page and Ullman, a fifteen-minute audition reel, an eight-minute photo gallery, and of course the trailer. This makes some two-disc sets seem like a total rip-off, I tell ya!
Driftwood may not be for everyone, but it totally resonated for me, and I'm sure it will for others as well. It's packed from top to bottom with great performances, tight direction, and some super eerie ghost/corpse effects by Vincent Guastini.
Sullivan is quickly becoming a master of horror in his own right. Between this and 2001 Maniacs (review here), the man's certainly on the correct gore-strewn track. It's nice to be along for the ride!
3 1/2 out of 5
2 1/2 out of 5
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