Sunday, April 05, 2015

New Blood Rising – review

Director: Chad Zuver

Release date: 2014

Contains spoilers

So, when I write a review I like to get actor details from IMDb but avoid the other reviews until I’ve written mine. However, having noticed the rather high rating and having just seen the film, thus knowing what my rating was going to be, it all seemed, shall we say, incongruous. This time I decided to read the reviews anyway.

Well bless me, they must have all, each and every one, been seeing a different film because they were kick ass reviews. I don’t know what actor Nathan Pelland had done to offend, however, as he seemed to be the one bad thing (according to a couple of reviews, anyway). To be fair to the gentleman, he wasn’t any worse than anyone else in the film.

Brie speaks to Archer
Things start going wrong with the opening intertitles. These suggest that vampires have ruled since the beginning of time (though no-one in the film would seem to have noticed) but the second intertitle has to be quoted, “Their bloodlines have come to an end by a group slayers called The Hunters.” Forgetting the uninspired team name for the slayers, I think what they meant to say was “have been brought to an end” and “a group of slayers”. Honestly, if you can’t get the language on a post-production intertitle right there isn’t much hope. Anyway they continue to inform us that there is one family of vampires left (remember that) and the Hunters are led by Archer (Chad Zuver).

the last vampire family
Said vampires are Jade (Kayla Elizabeth), the leader, her sister Ophelia (Vanessa Leonard) and their brother Bryce (the IMDb review maligned Nathan Pelland) and Jade’s goal is to raise a vampire army. Bryce has found *something ideal*, but Ophelia disagrees. Their internecine row is brought to an end by Jade who tells Bryce to check “it” out. It is a shop and a worker is just closing up. Jade becomes worried that Bryce will balls things up and they creep closer – remember, these are meant to be big bad vampires and they are scared that one shop worker might spoil everything for them. Bryce tackles the worker and the three vampires feed (just to note that the lot is by a road with cars whizzing past – so no stealth there) the blood effects seem orange on the chin.

Thomas Sloan as Karver
Fifteen year old Brie (Dana Furlong) wakes up, her dad (Allan Meyette) has a list of chores for her to do whilst she is grounded. As he has to work a double shift he wants her older sister Julie (Ashley King) to watch her – much to Julie’s chagrin. We discover that a new family has moved in over the road and Brie fancies one of them, Karver (Thomas Sloan). As dad leaves he meets the patriarch of the neighbours for the first time, who introduces himself as Archer – yes, leader of the Hunters. Dad is a little taken aback by Archer’s unusual name – strange for a man who named his youngest daughter after a French cheese. The Hunters (the other two are Riley (Lisa Marie) and Ash (Jesse Younkman)) are there to protect Brie. Julie takes Brie to the shops but, when they argue, she boots her out of the car and drives off.

using mojo
So Jade needs the blood of Brie, an innocent with pure blood, to raise her army of the undead. This is despite the fact that those they kill rise as vampires anyway and would seem to have more to do with the fact that she appears to be dying (this isn’t expanded on). After all the earlier bother around being caught taking over a shop we then discover that vampires are invisible to ordinary mortals if they wish to be. Sunlight kills, as does holy water and a stake to the heart and having their necks broken. Ophelia (who has constant red eyes) has a line in eye mojo that can allow her to make someone stake themselves – but that’s ok as stakes do not damage clothing or cause bleeding apparently.

bloodied chin
We also discover that crosses ward, which is blooming amusing as Karver takes Brie to meet Archer and the other Hunters in (what amounts to) an alley, but its ok, its daytime. As the day becomes suddenly overcast (vampiric weather control) they leg it to the Hunters' house (vampires need an invitation to get in). Before they get there they change their minds and go to the park as there is more room to fight, fight some minion vampires and change their minds again and go to the house. Not one of them thinks, let’s put Brie inside a church! Karver, who looks very young, tells Brie he has been doing this (hunting) for a very, very long time. Either he has a rubbish concept of time or the Hunters don’t age (they are a breed apart it seems) – in which case he is older than he looks and his attraction to the 15 year old (as we are repeatedly reminded of her age) suddenly seems very creepy!

Eric Badik as Brackos
Did you, like me, wonder why every vampire who comes back in programmes like Buffy the Vampire Slayer is suddenly a martial arts expert? You don’t have to worry with this as none of the vampires or the Hunters have particularly good fighting skills. Jade summons Brackos (Eric Badik) an ancient vampire only she can control, who attacks Hunters and vampires alike – Archer is aware and wary of him. Apparently having red gunk on your face makes you an ancient but… didn’t the intertitles suggest that the siblings were the only surviving vampires?

a (deliberate) stake in the stomach
So, the thing has holes through it. Brie’s innocence is, I am guessing, more a virginity thing as she is known to be trouble, always being grounded and a liar. Only a drop of her blood is needed (and the mentioned ritual not really a ritual at all) and so one wonders at how much effort it took to get that one drop – in fact, generally, these vampires aren’t that bad ass and so one wonders how they managed to rule the world, ever. Indie, no budget films are always difficult to judge as the lack of budget does make life difficult for the filmmakers. However good story, dialogue and acting can make up for elements missing due to lack of finance. It didn’t in this case as the story was bad, the dialogue poor and the acting amateur – but it is getting a sequel. 2 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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