Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Vampiro (2009) – review


Directed by: Jorge Ramirez Rivera

First released: 2009

Contains spoilers

Take one film, give it a concept – in this case vampires – and then fudge around with the reason for the film, its entire purpose. Mess around with it so much that the film has no purpose, no real direction and you get a poor film.

Vampiro begins with a boat, a child called Alma (Veronica Rodriguez) steers whilst a man, Casanova (Damian Chapa), stands in the bow of the boat. Some rather funky warbling goes on in the soundtrack. We get this interspersed with images of a girl called Blanca (Vida Harlow) who seems to be at college – though this is unimportant. Confusingly we see the three of them walk off the boat – confusing as they do not know each other yet and this scene never actually happens later. Perhaps there is a reason though.

Fernando Sur as Young CasanovaWe discover that Casanova is half vampire. His father, Captain Pike (Marco Capem), essentially raped his mother in Mexico. Casanova lived with his mother until she committed suicide. The result of this, for the child dhampier (Fernando Sur), seemed to be that he tasted her blood and was otherwise unfazed. His father then sent three vampires, led by Tex (Armando Elcamino), to kill the child. They didn’t kill him but kept him with them, torturing him, and now they hunt him.

Vida Harlow as BlancaAt around this point Casanova tell us that they hunt him through dreams, nightmares and daydreams; through the past and the future where vampires dwell. Through all realities. The knock on effect of this little piece of scripted twaddle is that there is no need for scenes in the past to feel authentically period – good job as they don’t. It also means that the scene of Blanca, Casanova and Alma together might have been from another time, alternatively…

Alma and CasanovaAlma was a little girl who had contracted leprosy and Casanova turned her. This has lead to her being different to other vampires. She can withstand the sun (he becomes ill, and they develop sores and then blow up) and, like him, can take blood intravenously rather than having to drink it. She also has visions and mentions a vision of a girl with golden hair, If the earlier scene was a vision, however, the director offered no marker to let us realise it (other than this one throw away line).

Blanca dances for SexicanaAs for Blanca. We see her at a party where she is beaten by some guys and thrown out by the guy who was, supposedly, her boyfriend. We then see her being tattooed as a mark of property of Sexicana (Leslie Garza). Casanova sees her in a bar, where she waits tables and dances for Sexicana, and seems quite taken by her. Later, when some cops take the two women off to rape them, he rescues her and gets her away before Tex and his men arrive.

crap looking anti-sun suitsThereafter Sexicana works for Tex to get Blanca back and to be turned. Another female vampire, unnamed, joins them in their hunt for Casanova. Part of this includes getting radiation proof suits to protect them from the sun. Oh God, how cheap did these things look. Seriously, they looked really crappy – especially the novelty skeleton hand gloves.

vampire with bloody mouthFor his part, Casanova has discovered that bullets wrapped in a wooden cross will kill vampires… Firstly I know nothing about guns and even I know that if you wrap a thin piece of wood around a bullet you’re going to get a jam in the gun, at the very least. Secondly he does the same with shotgun shells – the very same shells that will be expelled to allow the shot to fire (unless he’s using slugs, of course). Anyway carving a rough cross from wood and wrapping it round a bullet was pathetic and didn’t make for a convincing wooden bullet (as they referred to them in dialogue).

unnamed female vampireWe also discover that Casanova lives on a boat because the other vampires fear the ocean. Why? You might be thinking something to do with the actual water itself, tying into one of the normal vampire weaknesses, but you would be wrong. They fear the ocean because they fear sharks. Thoughts of the undead having sharks as their natural enemies might seem odd but, after a few moments more thought, you forgive the oddity of it as you might also get some vampire on shark action. No. You do get the occasional vampire in the water later on (clearly not filmed in the ocean, by the way) but no sharks.

Damian Chapa as CasanovaOne feature of the film that was astoundingly annoying was Damian Chapa’s endless monologue. Be it in voice over or dialogue, he went on and on and on and on… ad nauseam. God, he droned on and it ceased to be entertaining very early on… yet still he carried on and on and on. Is it getting boring, me trying to explain how much he went on and on and on? Well let me tell you, not as boring as the endless drivel that spewed from his maw.

bad guy TexMost of the acting was sub standard, probably because the actors couldn’t be bothered more than anything, possibly because the script was sub-soap opera and maybe because they were as bored listening to Chapa as the viewer gets. As for the action, well it was poor. Worst of all, however, was the direction the film moved in (or not). Was it about his father, about those sent to kill him, about his relationship with Alma or with Blanca? Candidly the film didn't know, or didn't care. Plotless and boring, not at all recommended. 1 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.


Marissafarrar said...

Oh dear, not one to watch then... The idea of bullets wrapped in wooden crosses did make me laugh though! Who the hell thought that would be a good idea? Maybe they should remake the movie and do it as a spoof - sharks and all!

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Hiyah Marissa - it is pretty darn dire. I didn't actually mention him whittling a cross from an oar with the line (paraphrased), I learnt this from Zoro!


...honestly, a vampire fighting a shark under water (whilst not totally original because there is zombie V shark action in Zombie Flesheaters) would totally have earnt it lots more points.

In fact I almost feel the urge to start a campaign for the filming of vampire v shark underwater wrestling... ;)

Anonymous said...


Given that the trailer for Mega Shark versus Giant Octopus was one of 2009's most viewed YouTube videos (to the surprise of whoever does news at Yahoo. Though how they could be surprised by this is beyond me, as who wouldn't be drawn to mega sharks and giant octopuses?), I think you might be onto something there with your shark vs. vampire wrestling match...

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Absolutely... and perhaps the Japanese film industry could make such a movie - they, after all, were behind the film with the wrestling squid (and I do mean in a ring): Ika Resuraa.

Marissafarrar said...

Someone should do a poll - shark vs vampire, who would win? I'm afraid I fall down on the side of the shark. Lots more teeth and a much bigger bite :-O !

Unknown said...

I saw the film and was just as disgusted by the lack of talent, fx, music, writing, directing, production value and Damian Chafa's endless
monologuing. I worked with this hack on another production and paranoid, delusional, no talent turd barely describes this egomaniac. He's so obtuse, he can't see the garbage he puts out into the world. Lucky for him we're here to point it out. Stop making crap, Chafa!
BTW. Chafa means Hack in Spanish.