Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Last Revenants – review

Director: Jim DeVault

Release Date: 2017

Contains spoilers

Director Jim DeVault steps away from his Blood Reunion trilogy and enters a new world of lore. If there is one thing I can say about DeVault it is that he has some really interesting ideas sometimes and this film epitomises that “interesting” ethos. It is unfortunate, therefore, that budget denies those ideas to some degree and that good ideas can be a tad embryonic at times rather than expanded and issues ironed out.

So this begins with a woman, Tiffany (Elissa Dowling, Live Evil & Dracula’s Curse), giving a man a massage. He eventually asks for her to finish him off, she begins to give him some hand relief and then attacks. The attack is quite brutal – the vampires tear into the flesh of their victim and whilst the filming here was a tad indistinct due to darkness it allowed the wound to appear rather well done and visceral. She eventually ends up taking pleasure from the man’s corpse, The vampires (or this one at least) tend to growl in an animalistic way a lot.

Katherine King as Dr Wilson
Mel (Sheri Davis) is a tattooist and tells her latest client off as he stares at her boobs. She gets a message and leaves the man in the chair as she exits the parlour. Dr Ashley Wilson (Katherine King) knocks on a door. It is opened by the silent Karl (Matt Gulbranson, Ninjas Vs Vampires) who gestures for her to come in. We later discover that Karl is essentially the zombified (it would appear, though in a brain sense not necessarily the living dead) husband of Rachel (Amanda Durbin), one of our vampires. Suddenly she is attacked and pinned to the floor by Mel who is with Tiffany. The doctor calmly asks where the other two are.

Elissa Dowling as Tiffany
The other two eventually do come in, there is Rachel who I’ve already mentioned and Suzi (Suzi Lorraine). Suzi faints and we see a flashback to her with her husband and the attack that turned her into a vampire. Wilson uses smelling salts to bring her round. She explains that there was a virus (RCV1) in medieval Romania that destroyed half the population. This was defeated by humans through their bodies processing sunlight but now it is attacking vampires as humans carry the virus and they can’t defeat it through sunlight (for obvious reasons). She has been working on a cure and the girls (drawn together for reasons they don’t understand) are the last four vampires.

Suzi Lorraine as Suzi
So this was where ideas needed fleshing out and thrashing out more. It isn’t the first film to have the vampires threatened by a disease (though why it has taken almost a millennium to get to this stage is not answered). How a virus attacks the dead (if the vampires are the dead, that isn’t quite established, though Suzi’s state may touch on that) is not considered and how the Doctor knows what she knows is not nearly pursued enough. Her plan for the cure is to treat Suzi (who still has some human aspect as her maker used self-control when turning her, indicating that she wasn’t killed where perhaps another might have died and returned during the turning process).

So, what is this treatment. It will raise her up to more of a human temperature and her organs will work for about a week – giving her a window to get pregnant. The hybrid child will then, she hopes, provide a cure. Given it is established that Rachel was pregnant when turned and the baby was killed as she became vampire, one wonders how the foetus will survive after the week is up. The disease itself makes the vampire more and more thirsty (which makes them imbibe more and more virus – there is a scientific issue here that could quickly have been answered in dialogue) and so they become more and more out of control – Tiffany is at this stage.

Mel feeds
As things progress a detective (it was unclear as to whether he was a private detective, as it sounded, or a cop as suggested) looks into Tiffany’s killing spree (which are all tied to her massage business – the house they are living in also housing the massage parlour, the tattoo parlour and serving as a B&B) and he becomes Suzi’s object of desire. This is all being manipulated from a third person but none of them see it and there are unanswered moments – such as why the Doctor chants an incantation over a bowl of blood and drinks it.

Suzi and Dr Wilson
This was then the biggest issue. The general principle of the hybrid child and a search for a cure was under-explored (and thus had plot issues) but was a good idea generally. However the film failed to answer all the plot points and was frustrating because of it. The character reactions seemed off, for instance Wilson’s involvement is explained in the narrative but not challenged with nearly enough vigour by the characters, and I think this was more down to the script than delivery, though the acting wasn’t necessarily the best ever. Like the Blood reunion series this suffers and yet there is a kernel that makes it worthwhile – so long as you persevere through the negatives. 3.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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