Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Queen: the Awakening – review

Director: Trevor Ford

Release date: 2020

Contains spoilers

It really irks sometimes. You get a movie, its from out of nowhere but as you watch you get photography and locations well above the standard for indie efforts. A complex storyline was there and, most marvellously, it was a film that featured a mainly black and Latino/a cast. The number of vampire vehicles that are geared towards black and Latino/a actors are noticeably low and of a definitely mixed quality. It was a pity, therefore, when this was marred by both melodrama and a poor pacing that highlighted that whilst the background to the storyline and the relationships felt complex, the storyline was actually fairly dull and the film’s pacing was rubbish.

Sister Tabitha's vamp eyes

After establishing shots of the city, we see a woman, Joyce Winters (April Melody Dillard), enter a large house that we are told is part of the House of Zaccaus. She is meeting a nun, Sister Tabitha (Jullita Pourciau). Tabitha can move at an astounding speed and have the hollows around her eyes go black because she is a vampire. She is telling the mortal reporter all about their kind, and this is our history/lore. After the murder of Abel, Cain felt his punishment was harsh and was held by God to comfort him, and Cain bit God. He was cursed to only survive off blood and cast into the night.

Mario Colenmenero as Solomon

So this is another vehicle where Cain is the progenitor of vampires (though Cain biting God was a good addition). Vampires are then split into elders (currently sleeping), elites (of which there are three ruling three houses – Solomon Zaccaus (Mario Colenmenero), Horus (Derrick Jackson) and Ka’Aurah (Porsche Zeraia)). There are also newborns. We also hear about flaws that some have, such as not having a reflection or being hearing impaired. Why Tabitha is telling all this to Winters I don’t know – perhaps I missed that titbit or perhaps it was simply just a convoluted background dump. Be it as it may the Awakening (where an elder will reawaken) is close.


So we then get the machinations of the various Houses. Solomon is currently the vampire in charge of all the houses but is trying to resurrect the Order of the Dragon to ensure he does not lose control when the elder awakens. There is some misogyny behind this as he is opposed to the ‘weaker sex’ being in charge and the expected elder is female. Horus and Ka’Aurah are loyal to the Queen. There is also some attachment to organised crime, it would appear. Unfortunately, the film hid its narrative under a bushel and not a huge amount really happened. Yes, there were some deaths (of people we knew little about and cared even less) but not the hooks that were needed.

killing a vamp

The effects varied with the ‘exploding’ into bats to fly being perhaps the worst of them and the acting was, without exception, filled with melodrama. It is clear that this is an opening to what might be a franchise but at the end they killed the best character. This one was a struggle for me, and that struggle was made worse because I wanted to like it and, as it opened, I suspected it was going to be a superior quality. Sorry 3.5 out of 10. At the time of review I couldn’t find an IMDb page.

On Demand @ Amazon US

On Demand @ Amazon UK

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