Everyone had a visceral reaction to their time in high school. We either loved or hated it. These memories, good or bad, stay with us well into adulthood. Then, years later, we reminisce about these events at reunions with our old classmates. Co-writers and co-directors Nick Cassidy and David Rice’s thriller Fallen Drive takes this concept and spins it on its head.
Liam (Nick Cassidy) is a sportscaster staying at an Airbnb for his high school reunion. Patrick (Josh Thrower) and Ivy (Maryana Dvorska) are among his old classmates staying at the same house. Liam’s brother, Dustin (Donald Clark, Jr.), was often bullied and described as “crazy” during their teenage years.
Later on, Reese (Phillip Andre Botello) and Charlie (Jakki Jandrell), a young couple, show up. They’ve been together since high school and had to endure Liam committing a horrendous act against them a decade earlier. Charlie and Reese’s goal is to exact revenge in the same manner of crime. However, things take a different turn than expected as Dustin, now a police officer, finds himself at the house looking for his brother, creating tension amongst the group of friends.
“Charlie and Reese’s goal is to exact revenge in the same manner of crime.”
Shot in nine days, Fallen Drive is a well-crafted thriller in the vein of Alfred Hitchcock, even Psycho, to some extent. Cassidy and Rice do a brilliant job of leading the audience in one direction only to take them into another. Much like Rope, the film takes place in one location. Despite the single location, the directors know how to shoot and block to create an engaging, exciting, fun, and tension-filled 85 minutes. The last half hour is exhilarating and leaves the viewer on the edge of their seat.
The cast also does a great job of bringing out each character with distinct personalities. The stand out among the cast is Thrower, who is funny as the party animal of the group. He brings levity without going over the top. Jandrell and Botello are also great as the mysterious couple. At first, the story doesn’t utilize them fully but slowly introduces them once things kick into high gear. It was wise for the writers to build up these characters rather than present them immediately.
If there were anything to criticize about Fallen Drive, it would be that perhaps some of the characters are not as sharply drawn as they could have been. Dustin’s backstory, for example, is too vague to grasp fully. We sometimes see moments where he is supposedly mentally unstable, but these moments don’t lead to a revelation. One of the last shots, in a car, may also confuse some a little.
Nick Cassidy and David Rice have made a compelling thriller with Fallen Drive. It has solid production value, is well-photographed, and tells an exciting story. It’s their first feature, and I, for one, am looking forward to seeing what they make next.
"…has solid production value, is well-photographed, and tells an exciting story."