Directed by: J S Cardone
First released: 2001
This is yet another movie, which has languished within my collection un-reviewed for quite some time. Not because of the quality of the film but just because I hadn’t got around to it.
I was once told that this film was, allegedly, a remake of Near Dark. If that were the case then it failed, however I have found no evidence suggesting that it was a remake of that excellent piece of vampire movie history and so we shall henceforth ignore that and move on. Not that this is particularly original as a movie, in its own right, but it isn't Near Dark and does manage to hang together well enough in its own right.
We begin with a girl, Megan (Izabella Miko), in a shower and covered in blood. Perhaps it was just a gratuitous excuse for a quick bloody boob shot but the scene was peppered with flashes of violence and blood, of knives and guns and defilement. This is important as much as we get quite a few moments of flashes – due to the telepathy shared by the vampires in this.
Sean (Kerr Smith) wants to go to Miami, for his sisters wedding. To get there he manages to get the job of delivering a $50k Mercedes. His trip seems okay until, having just had a boob flash by a girl in another car, he gets a blowout. At a garage he is told that the rim will need bashing out and it’ll take a day to get a tire. His wallet has vanished – but he has money in an envelope for a wedding present. He gets a motel and, following a strange dream, notices a car outside and strange noises, almost animalistic, from the room next door.
In the morning he picks up his car (the motel room next to his seems to be attracting flies and there are smears of red on the drapes, he doesn’t notice that but does notice that the car has gone). A hitcher, Nick (Brendan Fehr), asks for a ride. Sean refuses (it’s a stipulation of his delivery contract) until Nick offers to pay for gas up to his destination. A brief misadventure occurs with local law enforcement but nothing too serious, however it is clear that Nick sees himself as a disenfranchised member of generation X.
They stop at a rest stop and, when they get out of the bathroom area, there is a group of people around the car – and they are clearly our vampires. Now the film doesn’t make all the names clear but they are Kit (Jonathon Schaech), Cym (Phina Oruche), Teddy (Alexis Thorpe) and the daylight servant Pen (Simon Rex). They need a jump start, which Sean gives. He asks them if they were at the motel but they deny it. As they guys drive away Cym states that Nick is a hunter, Kit knows this.
They go to a bar to eat and Nick has a very rare steak. He goes to the bathroom and Sean spots a girl looking nervous – Megan – one minute she is there, the next she has vanished. When they get outside she is clearly worse for wear and trying to get a bus with no ticket. A waitress comes out as she has not paid for her coffee. Nick pays for the coffee and tells Sean to get the car. Reluctantly Sean goes along with things. They get a motel room and Nick says she is infected – he’ll explain but he needs ice. He strips her, finds the bite (just below the panty line) and places her in a bath. He sends Sean foreven more ice.
Out in the desert some youths are having beers and firing a gun, generally doing the things that youth do in this sort of flick. The vampires appear and ask for a beer. There is an altercation that leads to Kit punching through the torso of one of them and removing his heart. Back at the motel Megan reacts, as the violence begins, even bleeding from the nose. She starts to scream and Sean has to put his hand over her mouth as Nick deals with the motel owner. Nick tells Sean she is infected with vampirism – it appears she bit Sean’s hand and he passes out.
In the morning, when he comes around, Sean is not feeling good but will hear nothing of vampires. As it is they killed the motel owner and took a room the night before. Nick takes Sean to their car, knocks out Pen and has Sean open the boot. Teddy leaps out at him and then the sun takes hold of her and she quickly burns up. It is then explained that Nick is also infected, holding the infection off with drugs.
It is a telegenetic virus, thus there is telepathy between the infected and should a source be killed, before full turning, the infected will be cured. The source, in this case, is Kit – a Forsaken, one of 8 French knights. 9 knights survived a battle at Antioch. During the night the demon Abbadon came to them and offered them eternal life – 8 gained that eternal life by sacrificing the 9th. They were so ashamed that they hid the next day in caves (hence the sunlight bit). Over the intervening centuries 4 have been killed and 4 remain; 2 in the Americas. Killing vampires involves either sunlight or beheading, Forsaken must be killed on sanctified ground.
There is a connection between Megan and Kit, thus Nick is using her as a homing device and wants to head to a nearby Spanish Mission. The use of an infected person as either a vampire lure or tracker is nothing new. Let’s face it Stoker invented such an idea in Dracula, with the link between the Count and Mina. However, I was reminded, given the setting, of the plotline in Vampires - not to worry the Vampires' sequel, Vampires Los Meurtos, would go on to steal Forsaken’s “drug cocktail holding back the infection” idea.
The film doesn’t do too much new, but what it does it does with competence. The acting seems very down to earth and there is some nice meaningless violence. For some reason Jonathon Scheach, in looks, reminded me of Chris Sarandon in Fright Night and I was kind of taken with the idea of a French Crusader, turned vampire, creeping around and singing Metallica (Enter Sandman). We could have done with a deeper look into his character.
The soundtrack was loud and brash – perfect for the MTV generation it looked to represent. The film itself was never going to win major awards but it does everything it sets out to do. The film set itself up for a sequel but, given it didn’t happen closer to its release, I doubt one will ever emerge. 6 out of 10.
The imdb page is here.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Directed by: J S Cardone