Saturday, December 04, 2010

Nowhere Left to Run – review

Director: Julian Gibbs

Release date: 2010

Contains spoilers

McFly are a British pop band and when a correspondent sent me the link to their video for the song Party Girl I forwarded it on to Vampire News with a message about bandwagons. It turns out that the video was only part of the news. McFly have made a short vampire film.

Now, I could get snotty about bandwagons and quote the blurb that suggests this is “Updating Thriller for the Twilight generation” but, in fairness, that will have been written by a marketing person – who, if they knew their stuff, would realise that this probably has much more vampiric action than the average Twilight flick – and fangs…

into the church
After images of broken instruments with blood across them (that seemed a little too thick in consistency but, to be fair, most of the later blood effects look good) it begins with Dougie Poynter (himself) running, chased by girls. He reaches a building and enters. It’s a church. He leans against the door as it is pushed from the outside. He screams out, it almost sounds as though he is going to use an F-headed expletive but it doesn’t quite happen. The film then cuts back three days.

McFly are being interviewed. As well as the afore mentioned Dougie they are made up of Tom Fletcher (himself), Danny Jones (himself) and Harry Judd (himself). The interviewer (Lucy Edwards) seems to be getting precious little out of the band – especially Harry, the drummer, who is monosyllabic. After the interview Harry hangs back and the girl wonders if he is trying to be a bad boy. The rest of the band chat and the manager (Luke Healy) says that Harry will catch them up and they are then going to a secluded studio.

eye flashes with fire
A word about the band’s acting. It is not the best in the world but clearly doesn’t have to be, they are being themselves. When there is specific dialogue it sounds a little forced, when left to mess around as themselves they are able to come across more naturally. Anyway the secluded studio is in an old gothic manor house and Harry seems reluctant to get out of the car, Danny falls for the cleaning girl (Leanne Michael) and over dinner that evening the lights go out and Harry’s eye flashes with fire. Yes he is, unbeknown to the band, a vampire and the sunlight rule seems to be no direct sunlight – hence the difficulty with the car (how he and other vampires get around during the day isn’t actually revealed or explored in detail though there was a slight intimation that there was some weather control, moving the clouds to overcast).

eating the cleaning girl
The next day they are sat around, a couple of them playing guitar and singing until the news comes on and it is revealed that the interviewer is missing and her dressing room was drenched in blood. The manager is dismissive. Harry catches the eye of the cleaning girl, follows her, nips in a side room with her, gets it on and then bites her. She seems to rather enjoy it. Later, practising Party Girl, he has fangs as they play. The studio is a mess, as the cleaning girl is missing. The manager arrives back and picks up a cross on the way in (yes, he knows what is going on) and is accosted by the newly vamped cleaning girl, who he holds off with a cross before going in the studio and suggesting a party for the boys.

staked by guitar neck
The party is full of girls, all of whom go off to Harry’s room with him. Danny sees the cleaning girl and is accosted but able to get away from her, his concern re her fangs is dismissed by the other two. They decide to replace Harry, not quite knowing yet that he is a vampire but, when they find out, more desperate measures are called for – namely rigged up electrocution on the drums and guitar neck staking. But, even when they get Harry, they still have to worry about all the vampire girls...

in direct sunlight
Other than the idea of staking the main killing lore we get is that sunlight kills these vampires, causing them to burn up. As I said earlier, this seems to necessitate direct sunlight. The vampires have no reflection but, as we saw the monitor, it is clear that they can be filmed. Crosses, as mentioned, hold them at bay. Other than that we get very little.

Harry in the strip club
The film itself is, given their pop status, rather risqué. We discover that Harry was turned months before when they visited a strip club in Romania, he keeps polaroids of his groupie conquests and the entire film has a level of gore and a hinted towards sexuality that gained it a UK 15 certificate – possibly raising it out of the age range of the majority of the band’s fans. Perhaps they want a new, darker edge – if so it isn’t reflected in the music, which is still very pop but, hey, at least they play their instruments.

cleaning girl risen...
The film itself is a short (around 38 minutes with credits) and whilst the back of the DVD does mention the word short, it is misleading as it also calls it a feature film – clearly not – and gives the running time as 84 minutes (that’ll be with the extras then). The extras haven’t been watched as I am not interested but, for the McFly fan, there are three videos as well as a making of.

...and on the attack
Is it good? To be fair it isn’t bad – forgetting the music that really does nothing for me, there is some nice cinematography and set detail and some good fang moments. The ending is much more dour then one would expect – though do not expect a twist. As I mentioned, the acting isn’t brilliant but they are a band… it is a band film… what do you expect. That said some of the photography makes up for it. I'd have probably lingered longer on the hot vampire chicks, but hey, that's just me... Does it make logical sense, probably not but it doesn’t really matter.

Harry doesn't sparkle
I’d probably stick at around 4.5 out of 10 (being scrupulously fair), there is nothing offensive from a vampire genre point of view – in fact it actually works on a vampires are deceitful, seductive and deadly level. Indeed to suggest it is for the Twilight generation is to do the film a disservice – Harry has fangs, doesn’t sparkle, enjoys (even when mortal) strip clubs and clearly eschews true and angst filled love for hot groupies. The music we can’t escape, given the pedigree of the film – no offence lads but it does nothing for me – but McFly fans will love that side of it.

The imdb page is here.

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