Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Vampire Slayers – review


Directed by: Mike Mahoney

First released: 2005

Contains spoilers

This film is available to watch, as a free stream, here. As such, this would normally get an honourable mention on the blog. However, it is also available to buy on DVD via Amazon (US) and, as folks might part with money for it, I feel it is only right to give it a review.

That said, I’m rather glad that I am reviewing this. Clearly done to a budget, they did quite a bit and – though it isn’t perfect – this was a lot of fun to watch. There is a basic story that suggests that “In the year 2015 vampires are housed in a maximum-security prison. When ten vampires escape and threaten to infect the city, the only way they can be stopped is by slayers Christian (Russell Clay) and Dalton (George Nelson). After seeing their father killed by these demons, the only chance the city and doctor Danner's (Melissa McGabby) daughter (Lindsey Huey) has to survive are these two vampire slayers”

Dalton and ChristianTo be fair that about sums the film up. A world a few years on in which vampires are a reality and imprisoning them is the solution. However, vampires have a tendency to escape and go on the rampage. Christian and Dalton have some minor celebrity because of their slaying exploits and according to the dialogue they didn’t just see their father killed – they killed their vampire daddy.

who ya gonna call?There are some holes and/or questions that appear within the film. Should someone be bitten a virus is transmitted to them. The virus will take complete hold after 5 hours but should an anti-viral agent be injected before then, the victim will be fine. The problem with this as a concept was centred on those bitten. We see a husband with his throat ripped out – inject him and he’ll be fine but… well he’ll still have his throat ripped out.

a vampire attackIt also should be said that for a future in which there are vampires and a warning has been released of a breakout, well folks don’t seem too keen on closing and locking doors. Just a thought, but if I were in such a world the blooming door would be shut and locked constantly – breakout or not.

bar-room vampireThe vampire slayers (blue collar and ass kicking) tend to beat their prey to unconsciousness rather than immediately slay. Why? Because the vampires are bar coded and they have to scan the code prior to staking – as they combust when staked. This will obviously lead to a cash per stake situation. I assume the vampires are also tagged with tracking devices of a sort as a little holographic map of vampire location appears in the brother’s truck.

vampire visionOther than that we discover that fire seems to be a good vampire killer/deterrent. Despite the virus aspect they appear to be undead – the main vampire, Victor (Don ‘Hollywood’ Yates), is three hundred years old. They are stronger and faster than us and have a funky sort of vision.

There are not just the two slayers – at the end of the film we see another two. However their presence only served to consolidate a question I had and was, in itself, conceptually jarring as they should have been introduced, if only in passing, earlier on. However the question was about back up and casts a shadow over the world created for the film.

vamps at the partyA group of vampires are on the prowl, heading for a secluded house where a group of teens are partying. Given the fact that the kids are all out there and there are a large number of vampires heading their way I was surprised that the brothers didn’t contact the authorities. When we discovered that there were other slayers, you had to ask why you wouldn’t call them in on a job so vampire heavy? There is a lack of both police and paramedics through the film (and paramedics would surely carry stocks of the anti-viral).

an underwater fightHaving said all that, I really enjoyed watching the film. The effects were pretty darn good for a film of the budget although, admittedly, the cracks will have been less obvious on the free stream. There were actually extras in shot – lots and lots of extras – so the film never felt devoid of life. The direction wasn’t perfect but it had some nice moments. Unfortunately the pacing and narration seemed to go off kilter towards the end of the feature.

action sequenceThe action sequences, I thought, worked rather well with Mahoney not shirking when it came to slamming an actor into a windshield or have a gore soaked moment. You know what though; the real reason to watch this was Clay and Nelson as the vampire slayers. They just work so well, humour that could have been poor in other hands worked as the pair bantered so well.

vampiresI enjoyed this. It was, of course, great watching it for free but I’d happily part with money for it. The film is far from perfect and, despite itself, the story is fairly standard throughout and confused/disjointed towards the end. But we watch films that we enjoy and I enjoyed this. 5.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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