Thursday, September 06, 2012

The 6Th Extinction

Director: John Vincent

Release date: 2012

Contains Spoilers

In science, the 6th extinction is the next cataclysmic species extinction event on the Earth – scientists have produced dire warnings that the 6th extinction is fast approaching and the agent of destruction is mankind. Not in director John Vincent’s world view… the 6th extinction will be caused by vampires (and a major moon catastrophe, which I assume was supernatural in origin because otherwise it was blooming convenient) and we are the main victims thereof. The 6th Extinction, as used on the German DVD, is a better title than the domestic US Vampireland – obviously a cash in on Zombieland and Stake Land.

Unfortunately the film is flawed – and fatally so – and I say unfortunately because there is the kernel of a good idea in here.

run Shelly, run
The film begins in a washed-out post-apocalyptic future that mentions vampires and Renfields – the human servants of the vampires. It suggests that the plague began in Harper’s Grove, Michigan, a town known for ritual sacrifice of children. We see Shelly (Mahssa Rashidy) a survivor who is scavenging, crosses drawn roughly on her clothing. Renfields spot her and chase after her – she runs, trying to escape, and the scene freezes.

being watched
We are then back in time, the day before the night the world ended. Through the early part of the film we meet those who will star in this drama and some who will not… For instance, we meet a priest called (in credits) father Zachery O'Leary (Zach Zaitonia) and, in a badly paced scene, we see him going to his church, being watched (by a Renfield), and reading a treatise on the child sacrifice in the area. Seems important but, as all Hell breaks loose, he will have no more role than being summarily executed in a fairly pointless scene. Given we hear that all the churches in the area have been burnt down over a couple of days, why his was left flame free only for him to be executed as the night descends is one of those ineffable mysteries.

Mahssa Rashidy as Shelly
Other people we see include a volunteer fireman who isn’t getting much sleep with all the call outs. We meet Rick (Eric Jaan), who’s saying farewell to his lover (Amy Lynn Bulmer) just before his wife Pam (Misty Mills) arrives home, none the wiser with regards his infidelity. We meet a pre-apocalypse Shelly who is going on an internet arranged date with Michael (Michael Bugard). We also meet a load of guys with white sheet robes emblazoned with Day-Glo sigils – yes Renfields. So how does the world end?

raising the Vampire Lords
Well, as night falls one of them goes off and does a summoning ritual at four graves and resurrects the four vampire lords – essentially the four horsemen or they would be if they had horses. What they did have was really poor costumes. Honestly, if the dark Lord of the apocalypse comes knocking at my door and he is wearing a cheap paper mask… well let’s just say I’d find it a pretty disappointing apocalypse. That aside, other Renfields are going House to House executing the inhabitants via the medium of automatic weapons. There must have been other lesser vampires around because we hear later that, at the fires, people were dead who got up, attacked others who, in turn, become infected.

Michael, turned
Meanwhile, Shelly has nipped to the loo when a vampire attacks Michael. By the time she leaves the loo he has turned and wants a Shelly snack. The resultant chase shows us a lot about the vampires. At one point he throws someone and they turn into a bad cgi body as they fly with tremendous velocity through the sky and hit a nearby building. Likewise when a tank blows a hole in his chest he flicks it in a flurry of poor effect and bad cartoonish sound clip. Am I being hyper-critical… possibly… after all it was brave to try and put such effects in but they were obvious and detracted ultimately. As he chases her we discover he can’t cross a bridge over running water (though he can fly over it). He collars her at a house but she is saved as the fireman axes him and he turns into a flock of bats.

4 pedestrians of the apocalypse
Shelly and the fireman get in the house and Michael can’t follow. However, it is Rick’s house and he emerges from his cellar (where his wife and kid are hiding) with a shotgun and tells them to get out. They are, ironically, saved as Rick’s now vampiric lover walks in (called succubus in the credits, though she is just another vampire from what I can see). In a neat little twist the invite he gave her for rumpy pumpy, when human, holds true now she is a vampire. With some seeds thrown on the floor we discover that these vampires must compulsively count. When Rick tells her forcefully to get out (thus rescinding his invitation) she has to leave. With sunlight immolations, eye mojo and garlic burning the vampires I was impressed with the use of lore and the way the film went back to basics. Incidentally we see, during the course of the night, a meteor hit the moon, split it, sending debris to earth as part of the apocalypse – the physical impact being, one would guess, of supernatural origin. However, for the humans the trick will be surviving the night…

physical reaction
If I was impressed with the use of lore (and that is the good part of the film) and sympathetic of the effort they went into to make the effects – but not the results, I was less impressed with the rest of the film. The pacing was off but the acting was really off. Physical reactions that were simply pantomimic and dead dialogue delivery in what seemed to be poor post-production dub took the film and strangled much of the life out of it. The end sequence made little sense as it was too rushed and there were logic holes. If we have returned to a lot of the genre standard lore then one assumes (as we never see it) a stake to the heart would do the biz. Think back to Michael having a hole blown in his chest by tank shell… Now… what would have happened to his heart… obliterated… (Okay I accept they might have decided that only wood would do the job, but the film is silent and the point is fair I think)

There is a kernel here, but that is all it is. In general this was a fairly amateurish effort and the acting really did kill off any sympathy I might have had. 2 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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