Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Ankle Biters- review

Director: Adam Minarovich

Release Date: 2002

Contains Spoilers

This film, which stars the director in the lead role of Drexel Vennis, is useful for one thing; it is a user’s guide to how not make movies. Essentially the plot goes something like this, there are two breeds of vampire, the tall – now extinct – and the short. Dwarf vampires can only turn other dwarfs into vampires and want to reintroduce tall vampires into the world.

To this end they retrieve a sword, which contains the blood of the last tall vampire, and by using it on a tall person can turn that person into a tall vampire. The tall person can then, with a bite, create more tall vampires. DrexelDrexel is a half breed, his family line can be traced back to the last tall vampire and when he hit his teens he turned, forcing his eyes to become cat like and sensitive to sunlight (a good excuse to wear shades, at least). It is up to him, with his dwarf sidekick T-Bone (Michael Moore) and millionaire vampire Hunter John Marcus (Timothy Fahey), to stop them unleashing a tall vampire plague. That’s about the top and bottom of the plot of a film that is like a dwarfploitation (is there such a category) rip off of the Blade (1998-2004) films.

The rules of vampirism are fairly and squarely in the favour of the vampire in this. Basically they can walk in sunlight and nothing can hurt them. They are immune to crosses, garlic and stakes through the heart. The only thing that can kill them is an injection of vampire blood (yeah, I know, I was as surprised as you). However only dwarf vampire blood will kill a dwarf vampire and only tall vampire blood will kill a tall vampire. Hence Marcus has to team up with Drexel, who he has been hunting for years, as they need his blood to win.

The film was made on a very small budget, so small that it was filmed on a camcorder. Okay that might not have been too bad, but it seemed like it was a low end camcorder and there wasn’t enough money left to invest in a boom mike. In a way that could be a positive, as we would probably have seen the boom in virtually every badly framed shot, and yet the filmmakers really didn’t realise, it seems, that dialogue recorded on the in-built mike would range from barely audible to silent. Worse, when the soundtrack and sound effects were added they drowned the dialogue even further. Again, that might not be a bad thing, as it might have been worse had I been able to hear it properly. T-BoneHowever, in a vain attempt to hear the dialogue I was turning the volume up and then rapidly having to turn it down when music or an effects noise kicked in – annoying.

The acting, when you can hear the dialogue, as well as the non-verbal acting was atrocious (the image of T-Bone doing a pointy dance in the middle of a ridiculously slow-paced fight is burned into my brain forever, I fear) and as for the action sequences… The bar fights were some of the worst fights I have ever seen in a movie. In fairness, had those fights been played for laughs then it might have been bearable but the film carries with it such a weight of self-seriousness that we don’t even have that relief.

So, are there any redeeming features? Well the out-credit song with the lyrics “Three feet tall, two inch fangs”, over and over again, is mildly amusing for about twenty seconds before it becomes annoying.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls we have actually found the holy grail of bad vampire movies. I am giving this atrocity 0 out of 10… There is simply nothing in this film that I can find to recommend it, unless you want to experience its awfulness for yourself. You might think I have been cruel but I will say that, as I watched the film, I thought to myself, 'if this had been the first vampire movie I had ever seen I probably wouldn't have watched any other, ever'.

The imdb page is here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good to hear your views on this film. No doubt you would never, ever, ever recommend it to any of your friends! Which is a good thing in my humble opinion. :-)