Night Drive Set to Thrill South African Film Audiences


Can you survive the dark?

It’s a suitably intriguing tag line for a horror movie, isn’t it? Especially when you consider that the director says that it’s “gory as hell”.

Night Drive is an entirely South African horror film, with an SA-born and bred director (Justin Head) and a local cast. It’s set in a game reserve where a night game drive goes horribly wrong for a group of average holiday-makers. It incorporates topical issues such as poaching and persistent problems such as muti-murders, with some heartfelt human interest thrown in for good measure.

South Africans will relate to the cast of characters who share our problems and echo our views, as opposed to the often botoxed, plastic mannequins US film-makers serve up.

You can read the full synopsis of the film on Night Drive’s official website, but if you want the short and ugly version, here it is.

Sean Darwin is a disgraced cop who finds himself dismissed from the Endangered Species Unit. He’s trying to become a fully fledged alcoholic, a mission which is aided by his mother’s death. He takes her ashes back to the game reserve where he grew up and reconnects (sort of) with his estranged father, who is a game ranger obsessed with taking down a particularly vicious band of poachers. The poachers have broadened their interests and traffic in humans (alive and dead), as well as animals.

Our hero is roped into accompanying his dad and a tracker on a night drive. There is car trouble (of course), a body, a vengeful parting of ways and blood shed – a lot of blood shed.

Which all sounds like rollicking good fun. I’m a huge fan of horrors (or thrillers masquerading horrors – I’m not fussy), so I can’t wait to see this local take on the genre. I confess I don’t follow a lot of South African TV (I know of Isidingo, Scandal and Egoli but I don’t know anything about them), but all reviews I’ve read are full of praise for the cast, most of which have made appearances in numerous series.

If you’re interested, these are some of the familiar faces you’ll see:

  • Christopher Beasley (Isidingo)
  • Greg Melvill-Smith (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and District 9)
  • Corine du Toit (Egoli)
  • Yule Masiteng (Scandal)
  • Brandon Auret (Isidingo)
  • Clare Marshall (Isidingo

The film has already received some not-so good publicity, at least Ogilvy, which is handling advertising, has. Some naughty people from 1984 (a subsidiary of Ogilvy) thought it would be a great idea to promote the movie by distributing pamphlets and launching a website offering human body parts for sale (breasts were surprisingly cheap – R1800 – but eyes would have cost you dearly – R5000). Unfortunately, as clever as the three chaps responsible for the campaign thought they were, very few members of the public agreed and Ogilvy had to issue a public apology. It’s likely that heads will roll.

Jade Scully
Jade Scully is a copywriter excited about writing copy and stories, blogging about the world and editing. She currently and regularly publishes her stories on a number of blogs. Jade loves animals and hopes to begin writing copy for the animal rescue charity TEARS as her contribution to the cause.
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