Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Bitten: Victoria's Shadow – review

Director: Grant Austin Waldman

Release date: 2001

Contains spoilers

The streaming video industry has pluses and minuses due to its insatiable need to promote new content. On a plus side it will plumb the depths of various film industries, offering us rarities. On the other hand, it will purchase any old tosh to satisfy its need for content. In this case it really has plumbed some depths.

Staring scream queen Brinke Stevens, the only thing it really does right is look so atrocious that the poor effects get lost in bad photography.

That poor photography hits you as the credits explore a graveyard. Black and white photography in a graveyard should have been an easy ask, a moment where, despite budget, the film looked to have a little class (and probably a little cliché, but nevertheless). It looked simply dreadful with washed out photography. The film continues in black and white at the (night time) funeral of Mary McPherson who was killed with violence apparently – but not as much violence as the scriptwriter applied to the dialogue, leaving it battered and bruised. At the funeral are Victoria (Brinke Stevens) and Jacob (Bill Rodd), the latter promising that they will find Mary's assailant. Incidentally neither actor looks like the 16-year-old that it is later intimated they are.

Victoria asks for a moment alone at the grave, as the mourners leave, and Jacob returns to the carriage. Behind her is a man with an eyepatch – the family doctor, Dr Ayres (Joe Schofield), who she greets before screaming as he attacks her (yup, he’s a vampire). Later Dr Ayres tends to the injured and insensible Victoria at home – telling Jacob not to mind the contusions on her neck. He finishes her off (and someone sees as they peak through the window). The next day the priest – in a monumentally poor performance – tells Jacob that the locals believe she has been attacked by a vampire and want to cremate her. Jacob takes her to a family tomb, with her favourite jewellery, breaks his cane in half and stakes her.

into the crypt
Into colour and we are present day and Max (also Bill Rodd) and Carl (Matt Oppy) are DJs (and not the cool kind). Their girlfriends, Julie (Laurie Reeves) and Tonya (Andrea Emmes) respectively, are worried about their gambling and have reason to be as the lads are in some amount of debt. However, they should have been more worried that the director used close up shots of them and yet still failed to compose his shots in a competent way... Be that as it may, Max has a way out. He cleared out a family attic and discovered Jacob’s diary (Jacob being his great Grandfather – no mention is made of the new wife he must have had post Victoria). He knows that the family crypt has her jewels and – after being threatened with violence and losing another bet – they go and raid it. Now, given the corpse is still fresh from the 19th century – warm even – and the journal suggests that the cane and a family crucifix are keeping her from raising as a vampire… yup they take cane and crucifix as well as the bag of jewellery.

Victoria rises from the grave, eats the first person she comes across and then finds Ayres – who lives in an (apparently) abandoned amusement park haunted castle type edifice. In there he tortures humans with his mad scientist sidekick (nothing comes of that thread) and was about to get someone to remove the stake (he’s taken his sweet time) when Max did the business. Why did he wait? Apparently, a vampire cannot resuscitate another vampire – no one knows why! Max, meanwhile, has a psychic link with Victoria and sees her attacks in his dreams and she, on the other hand, has decided that he is Jacob…

Brinke Stevens as Victoria
Phew… after all that it plods to its less than thrilling conclusion and I could barely contain my boredom. There is no reason to like the characters in this sub-Dark Shadows plot line (Mac and Carl being like Willie Loomis, with the ancestor vampire being gender swapped). They are glib about the happenings, and the girlfriends are both glib about it when told and unconcerned with where the boys’ sudden windfall came from. Cinematography is bad, scripting worst and even a seasoned trooper like Stevens can’t make the story come alive. 1 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

On Demand @ Amazon US

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