Sunday, June 19, 2022

Wrath of Van Helsing – review

Director: Sonner Metin*

Release date: 2022

Contains spoilers

*According to Tubi the director is Sonner Metin, there is no listed director on IMDb at time of writing. 

This is a flick by Jagged Edge Productions, which seems to crossover with Proportion Productions. Writer Tom Jolliffe also wrote Reign of Terror but this one is particularly poor. It is on Tubi as Van Helsing but I decided to use the title as listed on IMDb to save confusion with other vehicles sharing the name. It does have vampires in it – known mostly because we are told they are.

into the building

So, we start with the titular character (Michael Hoad) in woods, a particularly weedy looking “keep Out” sign and him entering a building where he draws a circle and summons something – which will grant what he wants (unstated) but there will be a price (again unstated). Presumably this is why, in the film proper, he keeps displaying a pain in his hand and hoping for additional time but, honestly, this wasn’t mysterious, as it never become a prime issue in the ensuing film it became pointless.

the gals

Elli (Antonia Whillans) and Shauna (Abi Casson Thompson) are waiting for friends stood by a breakwater. Elli has a weird feeling and they wonder why they haven’t seen anyone else around as its 9AM (they suggest fishermen might be at sea, I guess that doesn’t count the sail boats out on the water we can see, it probably doesn’t count the moving car we see at another angle… what we don’t see, at any point, is the structures of the allegedly abandoned village). Anyway their friends arrive, being Alex (Beatrice Fletcher) and Briony (Elspeth Foster). They are off on an adventure – none are dressed for hiking or urban exploration.

warning signs ignored

So, they get so far and stop and Alex explains where they are off to… the Zone, an area that is prohibited as it is 5 miles worth of radioactive wasteland. There are meant to be tunnels there – with something in them. This leaves some doubt in Ellie’s mind… but no one wants to go back to the unpopulated village and the nearest next town is seven miles away… so the zone it is… They leave a packed up tent by accident, as they set off again, but no one mentions it within the ensuing dialogue. When they get to the gates the handy Geiger counter, one of them bought online, doesn’t show much in the way of radiation and, despite the officious “keep out” sign and the warning about CCTV they check the gate… its unlocked and in they go.

the garlic 'barrier'

Just inside the gate is a little (hopping/stepping height) barrier that seems to have garlic on it and dangling from it… that’s weird they conclude. They get to the tunnels and Ellie decides to stay outside as she has claustrophobia (she might have mentioned that when tunnels were first mooted). The other three go in and immediately Shauna wanders off (she finds an old coin, not much plot relevance to it). Eventually Briony is hunted down by a gruesome in a robe and it bites her neck… vampire? You’d not think so by the ugly (my first instinct was demon or mutant and there are more than one that look the same) but you might think by the bite… but then (later) we see it eating guts, then a more demonic creature tells it to feast if it must… later we get a confirmation that there are vampires and cenobites in there and the ugly that bit her is a vampire. Ellie, hearing the scream, goes in…


Meeting a bloke, Igor (Darrell Griggs), is a bit of a jarring cut as we have just left the girls to their fate. He’s gone to meet a couple, Francis (Kate Sandison, bats) and Leonard (Richard Harfst). The police aren’t looking for their missing daughter – Ellie – and they pay him £30k to bring in a man who might be able to help – Van Helsing. Cut back to the girls being attacked in the tunnels… OK, this made the film non-linear, but it didn’t gel and was unnecessary – edited in another way would have worked better. So, at a point after the girls have been captured (and Ellie held for sacrifice) Van Helsing goes in with Igor to rescue her. We do see a staking, vaguely, and some fighting generally.

Igor and Van Helsing

But it isn’t fun and the pretty silly premises don’t help; the Zone is an idiotic idea – a cut off area by the Government generally might have worked (or even by a private organisation) but a ‘radioactive’ area called the zone just felt hinkey; the girls adventuring in clothes that suggest they’re off down the pub, the left tent that’s not mentioned again; the garlic barrier that looked so silly and easily stepped over. The dialogue is poor, the acting is poor (I’m sorry, I like to find a plus but the performances were poor, though the dialogue undoubtedly did not help) and the film plodded. This really is a poor one that seems to have been ground out just to make a quick VOD cash grab. 1 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

No comments: