Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Last Vampire on Earth – review


Director: Vitaliy Versace

Release date: 2010

Contains spoilers

There are times that it becomes difficult to get over the dislike of a product. Try as I might I could not bring myself to like this – despite an interesting premise coiled at the centre of the film and some, truthfully unexpected, rather nice photography lurking within the film. It wasn't actually the amateur level performances that killed me off, nor was it the apparently poor research in places – we’ll get to both those issues, however. It was the fact that this had little in the way of its own identity – becoming a Twilight wannabe, and strangely inverting the core character types in the process.

The film begins with a voice over telling us that “in previous centuries we’ve taken the idea of monsters, witches and vampires to heart.” It then admonishes us saying we are guilty of fearing that which we don’t understand. Actually, if the film is done right it is fear of what will rend us limb from limb, cast a killer hex on us or drink our blood until we die and rise as a soulless creature of the night. But, I guess in this post-Twilight age vampires (et al) can be just too fluffy.

Michael Bole really does try to put on the pouty vampire personaWelcome to bitchville USA – or so you’d think listening to the mouthy kid having a go at a passing girl and then the pale kid. The pale kid is Aurelius (Michael Bole). So, he is pale and has a weird name, and the film is called last vampire on earth… hmm… methinks we have a contender for the vampire of the piece. I do have to say that, whilst their inexperience shines through, both main leads at least try their damndest and Bole really does try to put on the pouty vampire persona.

Chloe and MelissaHe is heading into lit class (I guess a filler lesson given we discover he is majoring in haematology). Also heading in there is Chloe (McKenzie Grimmett). The Professor (Charles Creager) informs them that they are to study Dracula and, not only that, they will be expected to perform a play of it for their grades. No-one volunteers for a role and so he hands out the role of Dracula to Aurelius and Mina to Chloe. Afterwards Chloe tells her bff Melissa (Keri Graham) about this – who comments that it probably won’t be a stretch for Aurelius, what with him being pale and mysterious. At least the dialogue between Melissa and Chloe sounded fairly natural because when we hear the other kids talking about the play – well it sounds as though they are reading from cue cards, their dialogue is that stilted.

ready for a stage biteSo, long story short, Chloe and Aurelius hang out to learn lines and practice and become close (eventually taking walks together holding hands and everything). Chloe is the preacher’s daughter and she invites him to church. Afterwards he is invited to dinner (both times it is the same fried chicken dinner... what... I'm just observing here). Here is our poor research wrapped around the kernel of a good idea. When he says grace the preacher, Melvin (Kevin N Glaser), prays to Jehovah God and in conversation he is shocked to hear that Aurelius wants to be a haematologist, as blood is sacred. Okay, so he is a Jehovah’s Witness. In that case they were not at church but at kingdom hall and he wouldn’t be a preacher he’d be an elder. I’m no fan of evangelical religions but I respect beliefs enough to suggest you should get the terminology right. Further, I’m actually unsure whether a witness would be horrified by the concept of haematology. The religion precludes the ingestion of blood (and by default transfusions) but to study blood to then create medicinal cures for viruses, for instance, I stand to be corrected but I would think that would not be frowned upon at least for a non-witness. Vampires, of course, would be a no-go and this is the kernel of a good idea.

blatant Twilight momentSo, Aurelius is a vampire, he pukes up human food (out of sight of Chloe’s family) and buys blood from a blood donation collector. We discover he can move very quickly (he plays himself at table tennis) and he says he is over 2000 years old. How does he say this? Well he gives Chloe info about vampires as a clue and she tells him that she knows what he is and he says that she should say it… you know the script, its lifted straight from Twilight except that he is 20 not 17, how long as he been 20… 2028 years. He heard Jesus speak and thinks he was a great man. We even get a laid out on the grass scene (luckily he doesn’t sparkle). This isn’t a nod, and it certainly isn’t satire; this is plagiarism. Hell, a deleted scene has a running with her on his shoulders moment!

looking rather poorlyBut the characters are kind of turned in on themselves. The vampire boyfriend seems quite comfortable with what he is, he still drinks human blood – even though he doesn’t hunt for it – and he is alone rather than in a clan. The human girlfriend wants to save the world, yessiree, this is no bratty self-indulged Bella. She is studying cultural anthropology as she wants to be a missionary and she has been on foreign missions already. That’s where she, through an open cut and a little girl’s infected blood, caught aids. So, she meets this guy with the cure… perhaps she is selfish… no, stop being cynical.

oh my, she has a gunUnfortunately her folks discover that she is dating a vampire when her little brother (Justin Oliver) overhears her mention the word to Aurelius. Why they would even indulge the concept and how she fails to say that she was talking about the play (something that is mentioned by her mother (Sharon VanDervort)) is not as mystifying as how these humans manage to overpower a vampire – something we do not see – drag him into the woods and tie him to a stake ready to burn him. Will Chloe get there in time to save him? Incidentally, with regards his status of Last Vampire on Earth – it is never actually addressed in any meaningful form.

blood drinkingIf I sound dismissive I apologise, but the good (but not totally original) idea of a vampire meeting a Jehovah’s Witness cannot prevent this from being a Twilight rip off (with less bratty characters). Mystifying moments and amateur level acting aside it is that one fact which makes this a very poor beast in my eyes. As a plus there is some nice music and, as I mentioned, the photography is nice in places (especially given the budget). I also do wish the young actors involved all the best in future endeavours but this one did not float my boat. Real genre fans will violently dislike it, Twilight fans are likely to rile against the plagiaristic aspects. 2 out of 10 recognises the good idea at the heart of the film.

At the time of review there is no imdb page.


Anonymous said...

Facebook page with 300 photos:!/pages/Parma-Heights-OH/The-Last-Vampire-on-Earth/156706717555?v=photos

And a USA TV mentioning:

and more press:

Taliesin_ttlg said...

cheers anonymous

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Dear Alissa, your post has been deleted because it was advertising (a cheesy looking perfume...)

If you want to advertise via my blog, there is an email address in the contact section of the sidebar. Do me the good grace to email me and ask as it is only polite (and bribes will probably help too)

thank you...

the blog administration

Vampire Empire said...

Wow! I love that you give such knowlegdeable detailed reviews. Thank you for that.

Zahir Blue said...

Um...yeah, this sounds mediocre to the Nth degree.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Thanks Vampire Empire.

Zahir, that summation is kinder than I think I was ;)

macake said...

is there anywhere u can watch it for free and by the way i got a ? who is chloe supposed to be shooting the moving im kinda lost on that aspect

Taliesin_ttlg said...

macake, cheers for he comment. I don't know where you could watch this for free.

Chloe isn't shooting a movie, she and Aurelius are cast in a high school play of Dracula

zodak said...

i just watched this! great review. did you edit those screencaps? my copy of this movie is really murky looking.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Zodak, no editing but I was sent a screener so might have recieved a better print