Saturday, June 04, 2016

Jezebeth 2: Hour of the Gun

Director: Damien Dante

Release date: 2015

Contains spoilers

I remember being disappointed when I watched the film Jezebeth, not least because I knew how hard director Damien Dante was working at promoting his movie but also because I could see what he was trying to do with the film. Ultimately I thought he failed, but at least I could see it.

Then I lost sight of the concept. I was aware that Jezebeth had managed to get itself on to Blu-Ray but as for the spin off films (and TV series) I lost track. That was until the sequel found itself on to UK Amazon Prime. Now, when I say sequel, I say it in the loosest possible sense. There is a different actress playing Jezebeth (Ana Santos) – indeed she would appear to be a whole different character, though my memory may have been faulty there – and there is little here that would tie it to the original, indeed there is little story full stop.

Gracie Serrano as Abigail
So we get countryside shots for the credits with an opening theme song that just felt wrong and went on, and on. The heavy metal that dominated the first film seemed to be left behind, rather this seemed AOR perhaps verging on lounge. The film then went into black and white for a nineteenth century prequel (that didn’t actually feel period). In it Jezebeth finds the body of a young girl called Abigail (Gracie Serrano). Jezebeth’s dialogue is quite thickly delivered as she accuses Billie Gunn (Reyna Rios) of killing the child and suggests she’ll gun her down. Jezebeth is surrounded by guns, however, and as the screen turns black we hear a shot.

fangs out
Modern day and Jezebeth bolts awake. Outside Abigail sits on a swing and we get the full play of a heavy metal track as the camera focuses on her swinging, occasionally moving to a shot of a dead bird, and then the house… It is a waste of screen time and the entire soundtrack in this is intrusive as it often causes the film to stop (to either ponder or watch a performance). Abigail appears in Jezebeth’s bedroom and Jezebeth believes it to be a dream, then sees the bite marks on the girl’s neck and then bites her herself.

vampire chat
Jezebeth shares the house with Cyanide (Jennifer Bartolini), a vampire like her, and Ian (Ian Serrano), an employee of her vampire father Jonah (Drake Mefestta, who was in the first Jezebeth). Mefestta sounded like he was dubbed through the film. There is a “sub plot” about Carl (Frank Warpeha) who has been newly revealed to be Jonah’s half-brother, which went nowhere as a plot device and was pointless but, generously, perhaps that was build up for another feature? Because of Abigail she knows where Billie Gunn and her gang are and wants to go kill her nemesis. A scene where the supposedly mute Abigail speaks to a child, who might have been real or a spirit was, again, plot pointless.

After we watch the band Grigori 3 for a performance of a track, the guitarist (Ray Wise) and vocalist (Gwen Bartolini) come over and drop a plug for an album. They then reveal themselves to be gun dealers but will only sell Jezebeth a gun if they can go along on the Billie Gunn hunt. A sidebar plot point, concerning a girl looking for Jezebeth, angsting off with the barman and showing up at the vampire house to offer herself for eating, was another plot pointless moment included before they go on their expedition. I kind of want to spoil that too, to reveal how plot light the whole film is, but will hold back…

snack time
Instead, well I've mentioned the rather thickly delivered dialogue of our lead, but also need to mention that there is hardly a stellar performance from any cast member. The dialogue is melodramatic, the delivery more so but with an amateurish delivery generally. Other than the theme tune, the music would have been ok if it hadn’t been incorporated in such an intrusive way. The photography was poor and came with a slight judder. All in all, whilst I could see what Dante was trying to do with the first film, this one left me bemused and wondering what the point was? 1.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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