Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Damned – review

dvd

Directed by: Ed & Jose Quiroz

Release Date: 2006

Contains spoilers

Never judge a book by its cover, or so they say. Look at the jpeg of the cover of this flick for a second. Pretty darn cool? I think so, but it has very little to do with the film at all. Okay we do have vampires but we don’t see one graveyard, one hand from the grave nor a horde of bats. I like the cover, as for the movie…

It starts off not too bad, in a very low budget B movie sort of way – once you get past the lame dialogue of a patrolling cop on the radio to his wife. Unfortunately that sets the scene for all the dialogue in the film.

a victimNevertheless the cop hears a scream, stops his car and a man falls against it gushing blood from the neck. Save her, the man manages to say and another scream rings out. The cop finds a vampire feeding on a victim and here the dialogue lets us down again. We have a burning eyed, fanged vampire covered in blood and he says, “F***ing freak!” No, no he wouldn’t. I’m sure there are a lot of things he would say but that seemed so far down on the list, to me at least. Anyway he shoots the vampire, who falls, and then checks on the victim… vampire gets him.

feeding on fake looking bloodThe vampire seems to be a noisy eater… I can live with that but the film is too dark. I don’t think it’s a transfer issue either, it’s the quality of the recording equipment used. That said, perhaps it was better very dark, when you see a full light kill it is astounding how fake the blood looked.

crap burning effectAnyhoo, four vampires move into Oakland and two attack a couple of muggers. This is witnessed by Tom (Brian Velthoen). His mobile phone goes off and one of the vampires attacks him, he whacks it with a baseball bat, which breaks, and then accidentally stakes him. Cue one of the worst burning up special effects that I have seen.

whatchoo talkin’ ‘boutLong story short, three remaining vampires go after Tom and his roommates Danny (Raul Martinez) and Nacho (Daniel Landeros). They end up being helped out by amateur vampire hunters (not seasoned ones as the DVD blurb claims) Dennis (James Jim Smith) and Rick (Todd Bridges) – whatchoo talkin’ ‘bout… sorry, couldn’t resist.

a vampireThrow in some confused cops – with some pointless looking at an abandoned house plus some ridiculous press release about a mountain lion attack – and that’s about the long and short of it. Oh yeah, there is no indication of any victim rising until an attacked cop does so at the end of the flick and he is staked in about ten seconds flat – in front of the coroner with no repercussions.

effects of holy waterNot much in the way of story, then, and most of the lore is standard. Sunlight kills if direct, garlic doesn’t work, crosses only work if blessed and holy water works a treat, melting the face away into a makeup mask that looks a bit crummy. Vampires must be invited in but if you invite one you’ve invited them all.

One unusual piece of lore was with regards the blood found on the baseball bat stake, by the cops. It was made up of every blood type known to man and had the DNA strands of murder victims stretching back ten years. Guess the vampires don’t ingest the blood they seem to need on a regular basis all that quickly. I also guess that it was flame retardant blood as the rest of the vampire turned to dust in bad cgi flames.

another vampireThere wasn’t one example of acting that I could commend, the whole cast seemed wooden and uncomfortable, but perhaps the poor dialogue didn’t help, it all seemed way too forced. I’ve already mentioned the effects. I should mention the soundtrack however. The blurb tells us it is “a fast-paced punk-soundtrack”. True but… part of the soundtrack was very standard, moody horror stuff that seemed to jump randomly into the fast-paced punk with all the subtlety of an elephant with diarrhoea – it just didn’t work.

This is a shame. I have seen worse movies, to be fair, but this had very little within it to recommend to you. 1.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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