By David Dent
Half action zombie thriller, half Malaysian travelogue, Wych Kaosayananda’s latest focuses on an unnamed protagonist (he’s just called ‘The Driver’), a guy with a dark past who now has to live in a post-apocalyptic world full of raging infected, played by Mark (‘John Wick 3’) Dacascos. “I used to kill people for a living,” he explains, “now I kill the dead to live.”
When we first meet him, The Driver has just dumped a guy in the middle of the jungle; it’s a punishment meted out by his friend Joe (Jeremy Stutes) as the guy has been stealing from the compound where they all live. He gives his prisoner the option to run, then fires a pistol in the air: these zombies are attracted by sound. And they’re hungry.
Back at base The Driver is reunited with his wife Sharon and daughter Bree (Julie Condra and Noelani Dacascos, Mark’s wife and daughter in real life), but when the compound is attacked, first by rebels followed by zombies – attracted by the noise – Sharon dies and Mark and Bree flee. But in the fracas Mark sustains a bite, which means that he will eventually become a zombie himself. He must head to another safehouse – The Haven – some distance away, so that he can deliver his daughter to safety before he meets his fate.
As a zombie flick the infected hordes are conspicuous by their absence, probably limited by budget; their appearances are limited to a few run ins, apart from the compound massacre, which is impressively mounted. ‘The Driver’ is more about how a father trains his daughter for the world; but in that it’s a world with zombies, that training includes rifle and handgun tuition plus how to drive a car. There’s rather a lot of slow-motion footage that seems pretty unnecessary, but the Malaysian jungle scenery looks amazing, and Dacascos father and daughter make a likeable pair. It’s all rather polite and pretty drawn out, but it’s a pleasant enough afternoon watch.
The Driver is released on DVD on 12th October 2020.