Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Red Blooded American Girl – review


Director: David Blyth

Release Date: 1990

Contains spoilers

The first thing to note about this is the DVD cover. I wasn’t expecting the cover at all – the cover when I ordered the disc was the original ‘American Flag’ cover and it seems to me that new artwork has been developed in the wake of such films as Underworld. It is a shame really as whilst this is a low budget flick it kinda deserves to maintain its own identity.

Lydie Denier as RebeccaThe film starts off positively enough, after some black screen and panting we cut to a topless Rebecca (Lydie Denier) in stockings and panties, lying on a bed. It does beg the question as to why she was so clothed in a post-coital state… oh yeah, refusal to show excessive nudity. Anyway she seems satisfied and her erstwhile partner, Denis (Kim Coates), is pouring Champaign and spiking it. He gives her a drink and suggests that they 'share'. She gets angry and then realises she has been spiked. He turns her over, cuts her neck and feeds.

Andrew Stevens as Owen Augustus Urban IIIOwen Augustus Urban III (Andrew Stevens) is an underground scientist working on a synthetic form of adrenalin. Unbeknown to him he is about to get a visitation from the founder of the Lifereach foundation, Dr John Alcore (Christopher Plummer). On route to Owen’s home Alcore spies on the scientist via a hidden camera and also watches a tape of Denis, who is his PA, and the tape mentions tainted blood. Alcore offers Owen a job and Owen is interested.

Kim Coates as DenisHe goes to the foundation and there meets Paula (Heather Thomas) a volunteer test subject – it is clear they are interested in each other. During his tour we also notice that Denis edges around a beam of direct sunlight – though this is not mentioned again. Later Paula is walking through an area when she hears a scream, it is her friend Rebecca who is bound to a bed and foaming at the mouth. Paula is told that she has had a bad reaction, though we have heard Rebecca accuse Denis of infecting her. Paula decides to leave the foundation.

snarling at the windowOwen goes after her and they decide to check on Rebecca themselves, sneaking into the secure area she is held in. Rebecca is in a padded cell and when they go in she seems edgy and says they are denying her blood. She launches at Paula and bites her ankle. They get out and Rebecca snarls through the glass window. With all the foaming and snarling we have seen, I can’t help but be reminded a little of Rabid.

the vampirism is caused by a virusOwen takes her to an ER but sneaks some of her blood test and looks at it himself. She has contracted a virus that is mutating her cells and eating her from the inside. Strangely, in this, the more blood they consume the deeper into vampirism they go and the more accelerated the eating up of their own cells – eventually killing them. Alcore admits that the virus is a mutated form of the kuru virus – a real world virus prevalent amongst cannibals.

The race is on for Owen to develop a cure but all is not well within the foundation.

Heather Thomas as PaulaThe problem with the film is that it fails to hold any form of tension, the story itself is quite good but the film meanders and the breaking in and out of the foundation becomes wearisome. The film cannot make its mind up as to whether the foundation are ultimately the enemy or an ally and this becomes difficult to watch as certain aspects make little sense.

Paula feedsThe moment with the sunlight I mentioned was annoying as it didn’t go anywhere and the fact that Paula feeds on a random guy means the virus has escaped but nothing is mentioned about it.

Christopher Plummer as AlcoreThe acting isn’t bad, but Plummer does sleepwalk through the role, probably he realised that this was ultimately a flawed project. Characters fall in love too easily, Denis is annoying and Alcore’s control over him (or lack of it) is badly realised and generally things are somewhat too convenient.

Not the worst film I’ve seen but lacking in tension, the base story could be taken and made into a much more competent production. 3 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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