Given that the slasher sub-genre is a fairly one-note affair, you'd have to come up with a pretty novel concept to unleash a fresh example these days. Despite a half-decent cast, a fairly solid body count and a colorful killer, Drive-Thru doesn't even come close to presenting anything worth sitting through. And when a guy who digs almost all of the Friday the 13th sequels knocks a slasher flick, you know you're dealing with a real turkey. Jam-packed with lame acting, stolen plot points and a real lack of energy, Drive-Thru is about as derivative as you can get ... which would be forgivable if only the thing had some FUN to offer. It doesn't.

First-time writer/directors Shane Kuhn and Brendan Cowles may or may not be horror movie fans. It's pretty tough to tell by what goes on in their debut flick. Either they're fans or they wrote the Drive-Thru screenplay immediately after sitting through a triple feature of Halloween, Scream and Killer Klowns from Outer Space -- but if the duo claims to be a pair of horror fanatics, then they owe their viewers a whole lot better than this. When the movie's not doling out a bunch of sloppy kills, it's wandering around aimlessly, tossing in a bunch of arbitrary characters and witless plot threads that go nowhere fast.

Plot: A guy dressed as a fast food clown is slashing his way through the town of Blanca Carne ("White Meat," haha), California. He mainly kills obnoxious teenagers, but clown-boy isn't averse to skewering a few grown-ups when the occasion arises. Turns out there's a woefully plagiarized subplot about the killer's origins: Suffice to say that if you're familiar with A Nightmare on Elm Street, you're likely to groan audibly when the "sins of the fathers" exposition hits the screen. Not that the remaining dialog is anything worth listening to. The screenplay's a collection of witless exchanges, bad jokes and cornball slang. (The humor resides on this level: There's a cop called "Crockers" and everyone calls him "Crackers.") And while the vision of a tall clown with a bloody knife might sound fairly novel, the concept wears thin in record time.

Fans of better movies that this one may recognize Melora Hardin, Nicholas D'Agosto and Morgan Spurlock (!), but none of them are able to salvage this mess of bad writing, poor pacing and atrocious music. (The directors' idea of "setting tension" is to have someone wander around while grinding metal music blares in the background.) Basically it looks like all of the budget went into creating a marketable stalker character, one who just might be able to work himself into a sequel despite the pitiful quality of his inaugural exploit. Whether or not we're due for a second visit from the ax-wielding "Horny the Clown" (yes, seriously) is entirely dependent upon how many people buy a copy of the DVD. Do your part, horror fans: If you simply gotta see a movie with this premise, just wait for the sorry thing to hit Cinemax.