Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Honourable Mentions: Let Us Prey

Let us Prey is the first 25 or so minutes of a 90 minute script that was written and directed by David Lynn. The film is showcased on Vimeo. The film logo, which is also used as a tattoo amongst the vampires, is the logo of vampirewear.com.

Now as stands this isn’t a bad little watch, especially given it is free to watch (though it can be purchased from Amazon). Perhaps not perfect but it does much right and, as I look this over as an honourable mention, any critical analysis must be balanced with the fact that it does work.

school art
The film starts with the parents of Vince (Jordan Kraemer) and Laura (Rosemary Solomon) seeing the principle. Vince sees school as a road bump on his path to being a guitar God and Laura draws garish little stick drawings of their mom and dad’s murder. For their trouble the kid’s are grounded. The parents (and I’m sorry, the actor’s names weren’t clear for them) were amusing especially dad who came across as Brad Majors to the nth degree. The performances lead me to the main positive about the film, just how comic book it felt. Rather than amateurish it felt like we were in a comic book land, a place where vampires could happily wear a tattoo in the centre of their forehead (dead give away that one).

Anyway Vince is running away to Los Angeles, to start a band and Laura goes with him. He stops off in his parents bedroom and, after a quick patricide fantasy (with a stream of blood), gets his confiscated guitar and they hit the road. At first they hitch although Vince has stolen mom’s debit card. Laura says she has a friend in Los Angeles, Sabriel (Black Betty), whom she met on MySpace and who is a vampire.

I see a distant vampire
They make good progress from Kansas City and eventually reach Randsburg – a ghost town looking place. They see in the distance three black clad figures – clearly vampires though the fact that they are out in daylight doesn’t square with a comment at the end of the film. Laura is scared and Vince uses the debit card to get them bus tickets. It would seem that here is one of our script jumps as the near encounter has little impact other wise.

vamp face
They get to LA and explore Hollywood. They are eating burgers (as a nearby priest (Donn C Harper) preaches of the dangers of evil). Suddenly two people appear, hawking tickets. They are Marius (Ruben V Suarez) and Pandora (Denise Carter) – and no, the use of the names did not seem altogether kosher. They have the tribal tattoo on their forehead and Laura tells them she has a friend, Sabriel, with the same tattoo on her neck. For the price of the debit card they take them to the lesbian club where Sabriel hangs out.

They are too young to get in the club – and is it worth mentioning that Vince reminded me totally of Laddie from the Lost Boys - and so wait outside. As three women walk past, Vince wakes Laura and it is Sabriel, who takes them in. Clearly, however, the vampires have their own agenda. Sabriel is looking for recruits (and is questioned about taking two so young), the kids are drugged and turned – Laura by Sabriel and Vince by Delphina (Veronicca Bennett). However, mom and dad are on their trail and the priest, whose daughter (Tyren Perry) is a vampire, is helping them.

vampires with extra zap
We get some lore in the film. The vamp faces were digitally created but well done and we do see a vampire (Zana Zefi) floating and (it would appear) chanting in some form of occult language – we might have got more from that if the film was at full length. Actually, her character – Luna – and another – Eden (Debra Gray) – seem to have a rivalry (that isn’t explored due to length) and thus, during a face off with the priest, end up shooting mystic beams at each other.

not-so-crap bat
Vampires do age, but very slowly. We discover that Leatrix (Emily Amezcua) is 128 years old. The vampires seem a little cack-handed when it comes to fighting and chasing – but maybe we have just met some poor ones, as a whole bunch struggle against mom and dad and a priest. They can turn into bats and the bats aren’t that crap – kudos, most films fail to get the bats anywhere near good looking (though, regular readers know that we love crap bats here, it is nice to see them done well).

Killing vampires? Beheading seemed to work as does staking through the heart. Strangely, beheading leaves them intact whilst staking has them rapidly burning up – why it should be different is unclear – perhaps beheading is not a final solution. At the end of the short mention is made of the sun coming up but then we have seen vampires in daylight (as I mentioned earlier).

This entire project has a wry sense of humour (which really makes it work well) and a bit of an uncomfortable factor given that the kids are so young. That said the two kids carry their roles exceptionally well. It would be interesting to see exactly what David Lynn could do with the full film – there are some holes that need patching but perhaps the full script does just that and it is great to see a film that looks more expensive than it likely was to shoot. The imdb page is here.

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