Drive Christina Hendricks
Credit: Richard Foreman

With a box office-topping 3-D re-release, the animated classic The Lion King roared back into theaters, ushering in a whole new generation of fans… who can be just as horrified and upset as the rest of us were by Simba’s father’s terrible death when we saw it back in 1994. Of course, as far as shocking deaths at the movies went this weekend, nothing held a candle (or a crowbar… or a speeding car) to the spectacular, but unquestionably nowhere-near-kid-friendly flick, Drive. CAUTION: DANGEROUS CURVES AND MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD.

Unfortunately, it seems many moviegoers weren’t blown away by Nicolas Winding Refn’s stellar noir caper. (Despite earning a respectable $11 million, thanks to the star power of Ryan Gosling, it earned a dreadful “C-” Cinemascore rating.) But plenty of the characters in the film were. In some pretty memorable ways, too. In fact, if Drive had come out just a few weeks ago, I’d be willing to argue that it would have ranked pretty darn high in our Summer Movie Body Count.

While I personally loved Drive (in fact, I’d rank it in my top three of the year, so far), I can understand why some people in the theater recoiled in horror at the sight of watching Christina Hendricks (our dear, dear Joanie) get her head entirely blown off. With that, in the blink of an eye, the movie switched gears from moody to full-on, graphic violence.

Of course, from Hendricks’ death on, there were plenty of other scenes that made you watch between your eyes: There was Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman’s terrifying demeanor to Gosling’s super creepy stunt mask (the real shocker here is, of course, the fact that they covered up his beautiful face) and that elevator scene. (For the record, that’s the one that made me have to hide in my coat.) You can’t say that Drive didn’t, at the very least, keep you nervous and guessing about what was coming next… and who was going to get it next.

Were you as enthralled by the uneasy suspense of Drive as I was, PopWatchers? Or did all the sudden violence, like Hendricks’ disturbing execution, make you too woozy to enjoy it? Were you more shocked to see Albert Brooks as a bad guy or Ryan Gosling take some scary turns himself (i.e. the scene in the dressing room of the strip club)? Are you shocked audiences didn’t love Drive or do you think because of its great acting, directing, and score it will gain a cult-like devotion in the years to come? Share in the comments section below!

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