Thursday, April 13, 2006

This Darkness – Review

Director: Dylan O’Leary

Release Date: 2003

Contains Spoilers

“This Darkness” is the fourth and final film in the “Vamps” boxset and is subtitled “The Vampire Virus”.

It Centres around Dr. Abraham Van Helsing (Dylan O’Leary), he is the 7th Van Helsing. The Second was the Van Helsing from the Bram Stoker novel, though Stoker – in this – took his character’s name from a newspaper article about Van Helsing and his research into blood.

The film begins with an attack on 2 women and a young girl. The first two attacked are the girl and her mother, out in a park – at night. The mother notices that the girl has vanished when she looks up from the book she is reading. The vampire then breaks into the house and kills the other woman in the shower. The vampire himself has a swastika painted on his stomach. At this point I was already worried about the movie. The acting was very poor and the film quality low. Yet it was the opening of the story that really made me cautious. Woman takes little girl to play in the park, at night, not very likely. That she takes a book to read (despite streetlights, not many people choose to read in a dark park) so she is conveniently distracted when the vampire gets the girl. Too preposterous.

The film then jumps back two days but trying to explain the story in any real order seems pointless as the film was very confused. This was a shame as there were occasional interesting ideas, basing the vampires on virus mutated DNA rather than making it purely supernatural being one. These vampires can walk in daylight, they feed on both flesh and blood – two of them devouring a whole victim in order to hide the evidence.

Van Helsing is developing a cure for aids (officially) but in fact he is researching the vampire mutation and there is a hint that he caused the mutation in the first place, in its more common form, though it is clear that there were vampires already. Van Helsing’s strain are not perfect. One begins spasming when feeding and is destroyed by the other vampires.

There are sub-plots involving a martial artist (who seems to be the equivalent of Whistler from “Blade”(1997)) and a young lad who is a surfer/drummer but all in all the film becomes rapidly lost in very sub-standard acting and seriously poor pacing. In fact the film itself is overly long at 106 minutes and yet the length of the film doesn't help iron out plot confusions. There is also a minor sub-plot that involves Van Helsing having incestuous sex with his mother (Jenevieve Frank) who, unbeknown to him, did not die when he was four but was turned – this had “Blade” overtones as well, reminding me of the scenes in the first movie between Blade and his mother .

Essentially, for the main plot, the head vampire (David Everritt) wants Van Helsing to create some form of “Queen” virus, so he can mate. By the way the head vampire is called Tarquin, what kind of name is that for a vampire?

The fight sequences include some of the worst martial arts in a film and – unlike Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter (2001) - these sequences have no charm, there is no over riding sense of comedy here.

Some low budget movies are excellent, despite the constraints of the budget, others cry out for a remake. This one said to me that there was a plot in there somewhere and then dared me to find it. 2 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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