Sunday, July 05, 2009

The Sisterhood – review

dvdDirector: David DeCoteau

Release date: 2004

Contains spoilers

I guess that it is just about time that I reviewed a DeCoteau film. I have, lurking in my collection, I’ve Been Watching You – which will need reviewing at some point – and Ring of Darkness – needing a ‘Vamp or Not?’ – but for now we concentrate on this.

Now for those who don’t know, DeCoteau is a prolific horror director who is also openly gay and, as a result, does like to put a homoerotic edge into his films. Even in this, where the concentration is on a sorority with a bit of rampant lesbianism, he manages to get buff guys posing in open shirts or lounging around in black shorts. Trouble is, of course, that it is nothing but low level (and very softcore) sexploitation, there is no great furthering of gay cinema in his works for his works are, as far as I have seen, piffle.

bat signThis begins with a guy (with black shorts) and a girl getting it on. Now the nudity in these films is… well it isn’t, there is always underwear in the way. Be that as it may they are having a good time when someone comes in – we only see a leg. The girl apologises and runs and is pursued. She runs from the house – the sorority house of Beta Alpha Tau (BATs), just check out the sign.

neon face huntsWhy were her actions a problem and is our blue neon faced pursuer the main vampire? Who knows, the film reveals nada about this later but, assuming the pursuer is the vampire, it is pretty darn ineffectual. This girl in underwear can out-dodge the chaser willy nilly. Eventually, however, she gets to the building roof and takes a tumble.

Barbara Crampton as Ms MastersCut forward in time and Christine (Jennifer Holland) is attending a new school. She shares a room with Reagen (Kate Plec). Christine is majoring in chemistry but takes a psych class taught by Ms Masters (Barbara Crampton). In there she meets Josh (Storm David Newton). Masters goes on about psychic phenomena and then a floating pen writes Christine on the white board (unseen by the class it seems). Christine freaks and runs. Josh chases after and they talk about inane things and then she bumps into Masters who says her reaction was understandable!

eyes flash purpleWhat we later discover is that this probably is in context of the fact that Christine’s parents died recently. Anyway Masters does some psychic testing and discovers that Christine is very psychic – Hell, her eyes flash purple as she puts candles out by thought alone! Masters tries to recruit her as an agent to infiltrate BATs as they may be evil… as it is Reagen wants to join the sorority and Christine gets drawn in after Josh (who declares that he is saving himself for marriage) stands her up.

have a cross...Masters gives Christine a cross as protection but then singularly fails to tell the girl anything about what she knows… talk about working in the dark. Later, when Christine questions the evil of the sorority and sorority leader Devin (Michelle Borth), Masters says that she should look in the cellar – a suggestion that is then ignored for the rest of the film.

a crash course in lesbian temptation“Where are the vampires?” you might ask and, other than the question mark over neon face at the beginning, it would be a fair question. We seem to get a crash course in lesbian temptation, Devin and her friends can go out in the sun and the cross, whilst annoying to Devin, is soon disposed of. Certainly Devin can cast spells on folks and get what she wants. Little of this is (specifically or at all) vampiric. That will come, for 30 seconds at the end of the film.

a vampire's death... no, reallyIt is all centred on the initiation into the sorority. Devin produces fangs and, after a quick psychic blast by Christine, Masters can stake her. It is somewhat of a damp squib as the whole vampiric appearance weighs in at not a lot of time at all. As for Christine is she good, is she bad – she flip flops in attitude more than a freshly caught fish gasping for air on the deck of a trawler.

fangs... right at the endThere is a vampire coda set in a coffin but that is too little too late. We have sat through MTV style cuts, poor film stock and some of the lamest acting I‘ve seen for quite some time and the money-shot, so to speak, is subsumed by being short, uninteresting and boring. As for lore, not a lot is known. Devin has psychic powers and likes to corrupt. She has been around for 400 years. That’s about it.

It is not a good film, with a mixed up story, poor locations, bad effects (given its relative newness) and really poor acting. One to avoid, methinks. 1 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.


Gabriel said...

Hello Andy,

Thanks for warning us away from this 'film' (read: dross). I have been eyeing it off at my local video store for quite a while, got bad vibes off of it, and I have seen 'The Brotherhood' aka 'I've been watching you' and I can tell you now it's just as bad.

Now I am not homophobic, I read most of the Anne Rice novels with glee and Lestat's homoerotic adventures did not bother me, but this film did. Somehow it's corny-ness actually made the homoerotic parts very uncomfortable for me, and I think it's just an excuse for the director to get male actors half his age half-naked with their six packs exposed so he can spank the monkey.

Now even though that movie does have vampire elements from memory it was more of a body-jumping exercise, the blood was for more of a blood-bond to make the jump easier. It was either that or human sacrifice to suck the youth, to be honest I lost interest.

Needless to say I avoided the Brotherhood sequels: Young Warlocks, Young Demons etc.

NB: You'd be surprised to know that David DeCoteau actually used to work with Full Moon Pictures and Charles Band. He did a few Puppet Master films and The Witchouse.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Hiyah Gabriel - I've been Watching You is dreadfully poor - I'll rewatch it sometime and review.

Dislike of DeCoteau's films is not homophobic - it is bad-film-phobic, at least as far as the three I've seen goes.

Derek Tatum said...

it is bad-film-phobic

I have never seen DeCoteau's "gay horror" movies, but I more or less assumed that as a straight guy, they weren't geared towards me anyway (as opposed to the work of artists like James Whale, Clive Barker, et al.). The irony is, based on your review of this one, it sounds as if he is falling prey to depicting lesbianism as something sinister anyway.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

I think the general point is that DeCoteau could put endless buff guys in his films (that would do nothing for a straight guy as eye candy) and still make a good film by having a good story, sound direction, strong dialogue and decent acting.

As it is (on the evidence of the three I have seen) he makes bad films that I can't see any viewer enjoying.

re the lesbianism, it would seem that way - especially as they are able to bespell men and make them nideless slaves.