Saturday, September 29, 2018

The New Girls – review

Director: Sonny Fernandez

Release date: 2009

Contains spoilers

So, I watched this for review on the same day as I watched the Vampire Symphony and what a difference, indeed one worth juxtaposing. One beautifully shot with a brilliant soundscape and (despite some issues through the film) some absolutely marvellous effects around the stakings and the other… this…

This really is a mess and I can’t overstate that. I will be fair, however, and suggest it is a mess that at least is redeemed somewhat by a couple of the performances (despite, and not because of, the dialogue). The first issue is absolutely noticeable from the first frame.

the girls
The cinematography – the quality of the photography, the print and the lighting – is atrocious. We start with three ne’er-do-wells and a woman, Svletlana (Liz Dockter), before them. They approach and a second woman, Lenore (Casey McMillian), grabs one from the back and attacks. Svletlana also attacks and the third man is picked off by Renai (Kim Haarman). Once the vampires have fed and dumped the bodies in a near-by garbage skip we hear that they are new in town, avoiding Europe; Svletlana has a house in town and they’ll go out that night.

Cody Tergesen as Ben
Ben (Cody Tergesen) goes into a diner to meet his friends, who have decided he is depressed (they really are correct, he might not look it stylistically but he is in full-tilt emo mode) and needs to get laid. They take the piss and the friends are drawn as anything but mature. One of them, Davis (Dan Sorenson), is throwing a party at the weekend. There is some bemoaning of the lack of new girls – so, guess what will happen next! Yup the new girls wander in and Renai is clearly, given her expressions, interested in Ben. Miles (Sam Ova) invites them to the party and Ben leaves for work.

Svletlana vamps out
Back home, and Renai really wants to go to the party but Svletlana is unsure. She eventually relents. At the party Ben and Renai end up outside, he goes home, she walks him home and by the end of the walk they are in the first blooms of love. Meanwhile Svletlana is hit on by Jack (Aaron Swenson) and is intensely irritated and offended by him. She takes him into the bathroom and attacks him. The attack reveals a vamp form that essentially involves fangs and pointed ears. You can see the fact that they are ear caps at certain angles.

Kim Haarman as Renai
Davis busts into the bathroom to see the attack. He tries to tell people that she killed Jack but they just think he is sloppy drunk. Svetlana puts Jack in the tub and turns the shower on him and cleans up. Generously we could suggest she does this in a practiced manner – given that we don’t see the mirror that she appears to be checking herself in and the fact that we later learn vampires don’t have reflections. She leaves the bathroom and the girls (including the just returned Renai) leave the party. Davis eventually gets Will (Justin Kavlie) to check Jack out. Jack is alive, his wound dismissed as cutting himself shaving and Will carries him to bed.

a melted vampire
So, Renai and Ben start on a budding romance, meanwhile Svletlana returns for Jack, turns him and then sends him after the paranoid Davis. Davis survives but can’t convince Will – until Will takes him to the girls’ house and sees for himself (and watches Svletlana rip Davis’ heart out, an act he later erroneously describes as breaking his neck). Will becomes our primary hero against the vampires and tries to rescue Ben who has been seduced by the night (as it were). This leads us to lore. These are standard vampires; sunlight kills (we assume, the windows are blacked out), stakes kill (and make them melt, badly as it happens, the sfx only shows us the papier mâché results, which are laughable), a blood exchange is needed to turn, although killing the vampire that turned you before dawn will turn you back, and they can turn into very crap bats.

bad staking sfx
So – I just alluded to the sfx. Okay, the girls’ fangs look quite good – as for the turned guys… oh they are bad. We get pink liquid for blood at times and a half ripped off face that looks just like papier mâché without oodles of blood. I have to mention one particular staking through the back where the stake at the back was at a different angle and (in the next shot) position from the stake at the front. A supposedly locked coffin was clearly made from cardboard and the lid wobbled as Ben pretended to jimmy it open. The sfx and props weren’t the only issues. The sound was terrible (closed captions to work out some dialogue were occasionally relied on) and I mentioned the filming at the head. The dialogue was poor but that brings us to redeeming factors.

Justin Kavlie as Will
Some of the performances… I wasn’t particularly struck by Cody Tergesen as Ben, he wasn’t the worst but he certainly wasn’t stellar. However, his interactions with Renai really worked well and the performance by Kim Haarman was very natural and expressive despite the dialogue. They had a chemistry and that helped keep viewer interest. I was also rather taken with the Will character who, despite being a dick, was portrayed as personable by Justin Kavlie. Finally Liz Dockter projected some presence at times.

This is one that comes across more as a hashed together friends’ film done for a bit of a laugh, than it does a feature, with all that entails and the expectations that come with that. 2 out of 10. The imdb page is here.

On Demand @ Amazon US

On Demand @ Amazon UK

No comments: