Director: Tom Shell
Release date: 2008
It’s about time that this was released, originally entitled ‘the Thirst’ it was in production at the same time as the 2007 released the Thirst. Unfortunately, despite some medium size names in the production, this feels cheap and doesn’t achieve all that it could.
What it also doesn’t do is live up to the genre’s listed on imdb… horror, well it has vampires… thriller, not really… action, I’ll give it that it has a little… but comedy , no, I don’t think so. It does have some unusual lore that I don’t think it did enough with but let us look at the story.
It begins, after some false cgi looking sewers and woods, at a party at a frat and Laurie (Stephanie Lemelin) storms out having seen boyfriend, and new campus president, Jason (Nick Holmes) with another girl. They argue and he won’t apologise as he does what feels good. So does Claudius (Jason Connery, in the second film we’ve looked at recently – the other being Brotherhood of Blood), who bites Jason and then sends him on his first kill after Laurie.
College the next day and Will (A J Draven) and Rico (Owiso Odera) are waiting for Jayne (Allison Lange), whom Will has a crush on. Indeed when she arrives, with her room mate Ashley (Rini Bell), Will can hardly speak and is coming out with all sorts of garbage. Will, it should be noted, is a non-aggressive hippy, who is over-compensating in passiveness as his father was a wife-beater.
Into the fray comes Darren (Cameron Zeidler), a frat boy, jock and bully, who used to see Ashley and now wants Jayne. He dislikes Will but is clearly wary of Rico. What we later discover is that Darren is twisted but also has powers beyond mortals and we should, now, look at the back story.
There is a coven of vampires in the area. The coven is run by Julien (Tony Todd) but he is ancient and ready to pass the leadership on. The leadership of the coven is gained by killing a sentry – a vampire hunting warrior monk. No one has killed a sentry in two centuries but witch Amelia (America Olivia) can feel one – Darren.
She doesn’t want Claudius to become leader, which is likely, so when Will kills Darren in self defence (he was going to rape Jayne and was throttling Will) she bites Will and then tries to tempt him into drinking blood and thus fully turning. In the meantime he gets all those half vampire traits… sleeping through the day, sensitive to sunlight, body becoming toned and ripped.
Now the reason Darren was a sentry was that his father, Reeves (Mark Ryan, who worked with Jason Connery before when he protrayed Nasir in Robin of Sherwood), was a sentry – as was his mother I gather, they might be monks but that doesn’t seem to be a gender based title or a celibate order for that matter – and the power was passed to Darren who turned away from their faith. They are long lived, Reeves is 200, and it appears that many are those bitten who do not succumb to the thirst.
We now have a variety of forces pulling at Will. Amelia tries to tempt him to partake of blood and become the coven leader. Claudius wants the leadership for himself. Ashley is a Goth vampire wannabe and wants to be a vampire like Will. Rico and Jayne want to help him though they aren’t clear what has happened. Reeves wants to avenge his son’s murder.
Which would be all well and good, except that the film just kind of bibbles along and we get no real sense of tension, nor do we get a feeling that there is any form of major struggle. Part of the problem is within the coven scenes. There just didn’t seem to be any power displayed. Tony Todd is normally one Hell of a screen presence but he seemed subdued – possibly due to the fact that his character was meant to be old and tired, but nevertheless…
Connery and Olivo just seemed a little whiney in those scenes. Connery should have come across as a master manipulator but came across as a bit of a petulant brat. Olivo acted the temptress really well when interacting with Draven but when in the coven scenes she was too sheepish. I seriously didn’t buy the characters at that point and the coven room itself was limited in location, feeling like some room somewhere when it should have been filled with the decadent opulence of the vampires' haven in Underworld.
The other big problem was the cheapness… all the locations felt cheap and limited and there was little in the way of atmosphere to make up for it. I don’t know why but it affected this more than other films on a budget. As for the lore, well it was unusual but they didn't go into the interesting aspects at all and so the order of monks felt like a reject from a Buffy script but nothing more - a shame as the whole concept could have been explored in some depth.
The bottom line is that there was just something off about the whole affair. In a way that something is indefatigable, we can point to performances, atmosphere and budget but it was something more, an inherent failing in the film that I just can’t put my finger on. 2.5 out of 10.
The imdb page is here.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Director: Tom Shell