Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Immortal – review


Directors: Walt Bost & Steven D. White

First Released: 1995

Contains spoilers

I really don’t know where to start with this one – though some might say with a synopsis might be an idea – but to be fair a synopsis is going to prove the easiest part of this as there is little story wise to it. That isn’t the problem with the film, which definitely had some good points but… Well, what the heck, let us get on with a synopsis…

The film begins with a voice over by Dex Draggs (Andrew Taylor) where he talks about the taste, the need, the addiction, the quest to be immortal… all regarding music. He is a member of a band but many of his fellow band members are not happy with him as he tends to be unreliable. They are playing a bar that night and he is late. They do the gig anyway.

Afterwards Dex is backstage and a groupie approaches him. Despite the fact that the bar is run by his girlfriend, Linda (Meredith Leigh Sause), he lets her approach. There is some corny dialogue – which becomes important later – and then they kiss. The kiss becomes a bite and there is blood on his hand.

stacking ketchupDex turns up at a diner just as the rest of the band are leaving. Only one remains behind, Mike (Mike Shaw). Dex plays with a pocket watch as he looks at two ketchup bottles one on top of the other, in an hourglass effect. He tells Mike it has started again and he doesn’t know what to do.

Linda and DexYes, Dex is a vampire and it is something he hides from everyone bar Mike, who we later discover goes around hiding bodies for him… as you do. However the act of hiding the condition is putting a strain on his band position and his relationship with Linda, who believes that he is involved in drugs.

delusion moment?The problem is we don’t get a huge amount of lore handed over and much of what is happening could be delusion. I mentioned the dialogue with the groupie, well we hear exactly the same dialogue spoken in a film that Dex and Linda go to see. There are certainly hallucinatory moments, paranoid tendencies and vivid nightmares.

attacking a muggerLet us run with the concept that he is a vampire however, thus the fact that we do not get much in the way of vampiric lore becomes our frustration in respect of the experience. We see Dex mugged and shot, but he seems to reabsorb his own blood into his body (we see another example of that later) and he kills both muggers – one by ripping the head away. From what Mike and Dex say the need to take blood is rhythmic, occurring every so often.

the watchWe know that his vampirism has something to do with the pocket watch (that has the initials WW scratched inside) and a train wreck. The inference is that Dex’ parents were on that train. He later discovers that there was one person who walked away from the wreck – Wiley Wresting (Frank J Aard) and thus Dex goes to find him.

Frank J Aard as Wiley WrestingThings became more frustrating here and not only because Aard was, for some reason, badly dubbed. Aard maintains he was a vampire but has cured himself – by sheer force of will. He then suggests that the condition is perhaps hereditary by saying that it skipped Dex’s mother and father. That doesn’t then explain the almost mystic significance of the pocket watch which, in itself, is never fully explored.

puking bloodDex does try to bring himself off blood and this seems very much junky, cold turkey territory with plenty of blood puking, collapsing and hallucinating. The film seems to vacillate between being a drugs film and being a supernatural film. This is tied into it not having that much story (despite a 106 minute running time).

attacking a PR manThe acting seems natural enough, when it comes to Dex at least, and the grainy shot of the film works (bar some unfortunate boom mike moments). The soundtrack is really quite good. The film has a feel of Romero’s Martin, to a degree, as well as The Addiction and perhaps even a small degree of I Pass for Human. The trouble is the film isn’t anywhere near close to being as good as any of them.

Lack of narrative story I could have handled so long as there was a decent lore in the movie. This was lacking in both. 3.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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