Thursday, July 26, 2012

Apocrypha – review

Director: Michael Fredianelli

Release date: 2011

Contains spoilers

This was one that I will find difficult to review, a film that I felt (as I watched it) owed a little to perhaps the addiction or habit, though not as skilfully crafted.

The film carries an unusual premise that I rather liked, though perhaps the sum total of the film needs more polishing and is restricted within its own budgetary constraints.

It begins with a woman (Kat Reichmuth), dressed in Gothic attire, her face dirty. There is a Goth guy (Adam Wiggins) nearby but he does not seem to notice her. She seems upset, out of place, but drawn to a pendant she wears around her neck. She walks through the park.

Griffith feels mental and physical anguish
In an office a man, Griffith (Michael Fredianelli), realises the time, pushes his paperwork into a draw and rushes off. He is late for his appointment with his shrink, Goodstein (Ray Medved). Here is an issue… the office (and we later hear that Griffith has blagged his way into the 6 figured salary post of a San Francisco newspaper, but we’ll suspend belief there) looks nothing like it should – later there is a deadly chase through the main building, which in fairness looks much more like it should – and one would think that only Griffith and co-worker Dex (Sean Dodd Rojas) work there. Goodstein seems to work from home, despite offering free sessions to stray vagrants from a shelter, and later actively drinks in front of clients. It was a shame about the sets really, a plush office for both Griffith and Goodstein would have been nice.

animal blood
Anyway, the short of it is that Griffith woke up in the park a year before with no memory – he isn’t sure that Griffith is his real name. A year on and he has no memory – he is also holding something back from the Doc. When he goes on a date we see that he is a first class idiot (douche-bag is often mention with regards him). Griffith is our bad guy, in many respects, and I say it like that not because he is overly evil (as such) but because he is just thoroughly unpleasant. He rushes out on his date during heavy petting and explains to the long suffering shrink that he keeps getting urges to bite necks and that he has been killing small animals and drinking their blood (he keeps said blood in the fridge).

raw meat
Meanwhile the girl, having eaten raw meat in a supermarket and walked past the house of a psychic called Yasha (Selenia Velez-Mason) as the property is familiar, ends up at a shelter. Worker Jan (William McMichael) takes pity on her when he discovers she has no memory and takes her in (to his own home). A waking hallucination in the mirror and then a dream of herself with fangs, cat’s eyes and calling herself Maggie and we know what she is. She is referred to Goodstein also.

wake up dead
Yes they are both vampires and this is the good bit. In the early 1900s they eloped to America and Griffith had acquired a journal about the vampire race (a, by then, extinct race) belonging to Yasha. An accident led to them perishing in a house fire but Yasha took their bodies, put a drop of the last vampire master’s blood on their lips and buried them in the park. She did not, however, manage to retrieve the journal. Twice since then, once a year ago and just at this time, someone (randomly) has played with the rituals in the book and it has led to vampiric resurrection.

vision of a vampire 
I liked the unusual turning. What wasn’t as clear was why Maggie’s memories come back so relatively quickly compared to Griffith or, indeed, why her vampirism comes on so quick when he was still on animals a year in. However we are left with a situation that she wants to revert to human but he is happy with his new life and she discovers, from a sorcerer (Henry Lee) of the same race as Yasha (who they are is left as a mystery), that to revert to human she has to kill Griffith.

Jan and Maggie
Sunlight seems an issue dealt with by simply wearing dark glasses, a stake to the heart kills and biting without complete draining turns a victim. They are stronger than human and the thirst is put across as being like a drug habit. The back story was positive. Fredianelli was thoroughly dislikeable as Griffith, which I take as a good performance in this case, and Reichmuth seemed suitably lost when she had no memory. Other actors weren’t as good, I could fairly much have lived without Rojas – though his death scene worked.

I wasn’t as sure about the actual plot, as opposed to the backstory (incidentally the flash back scene worked rather well, actually giving a feeling of a different age) and felt it could have used some tidying. I did rather like the opening around Maggie however and the colour filter gave the flick less of a feel of San Francisco and was reminiscent on New York – maybe why the two films I mentioned at the head were brought to mind. The ending is nicely dour, which I liked but I felt the film was a little over long, perhaps some cuts are needed to make it flow better. That said I did fairly enjoy it for what it was. 4 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

No comments: