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Forsaken: Desert Vampires

dir: J.S. Cardone
This film opened yesterday. [img_assist|nid=1074|title=Good advice|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=375|height=500]
I watched the first session with about three other people in the audience. I'm amazed they stayed until the end. I'm amazed I stayed until the end.

The actual cinema (no. 4 Hoyts) I watched it in has a grand tradition, a legacy to live up to. Nearly ten years ago I had the good fortune to be horribly drunk on a Sunday night, and the female friend in my company was even more drunk than I. As she was an esteemed employee of the Hoyts Corporation, we were lucky enough to just be able to walk into any of the films showing, whenever we wanted to. This particular night we staggered into a "special" screening, an advance screening for an upcoming release that was expected to do big business.

The audience was packed, we tried to quietly make our may to the only available seats, but had as much luck as a sumo wrestler wearing nylon. It was about half way through the film, but considering our blood alcohol levels, it didn't matter.

We settled in our seats, dazzled by the bright lights and the big people on the screen, watched fifteen minutes, laughed uproariously at its high crappiness, loudly screamed "This is shit!" and staggered out again. That film was called Garbo, one of the worst Australian films (if that isn't a tautology) of all time. We found out later that the special screening included members of the cast and crew, and their families.

So, this particular theatre has a history of showing quality films. I was ready for anything. But this time I didn't have the luxury of being drunk to dull the pain.

This is easily one of the dumbest vampire films ever made. Trust me on this, I pride myself on my knowledge and my watching of as many vampire films as inhumanly possible. This is of the most worthless, certainly. This isn't one of those "it's so bad, it's good, in a campy sort of way" type of deals, it doesn't have at least a sufficiency of breasts, gore, fucking and fighting to make up for the lack of plot. It just sucked.

This is, as far as I can tell, a remake of John Carpenter's Vampires, made as a pilot for a teen soap for the telly. There are shots which are fucking identical, I kid you not. Then, of course you can't go wrong with actors from Dawson's Creek and Roswell, can you? Can you? Of course you fucking well can, they are fucking morons spouting dialogue that makes them seem even dumber than they do on the idiocy box.

Johnathon Schaech plays the leader of this particular vampire crew. He looks entirely fuckable, and capable of being badass, but alas is given nothing to work with. Nothing. At times when he's supposed to be menacing, he actually comes across as somewhat retarded, which is a shame. Johnathon Schaech has done decent work in the past, most notably for my money in Gregg Araki's The Doom Generation. A film made even more notable by the scathing reviews, the presence of Skinny Puppy and the first self-administered snowball I can remember seeing. Here he was just crap.

The guy who plays the gay character on Duhson's Creek pops up here as the film's lead. His name is Kerr Smith. I have seen and eaten tofu that has more personality and actingability than this fucker. He would, however, be more than appropriate as an "actor" in gay porn. He would be perfect for it. Anything that can prevent him from sucking up valuable film dollars in future "real" movies is worth it, I think.

Ordinarily I would avoid putting spoilers in a review out of courtesy and in consideration of the fact that people may want to watch a film without too much foreknowledge of what's going to happen. In this instance, I believe that it is mandatory that I do whatever I need to in order to dissuade people from wasting their money and time on this monumentally dull flick. Consider it a community service, like the court keeps asking me to do.
The film starts promisingly enough with a naked, young, pale blonde girl washing copious amounts of blood off of her perky breasts. That's probably the best scene in the film, and predictably, it's all downhill from there.

Kerr Smith is meant to be, defying the laws of nature and logic, the film's main character. His mission: to drive a car from somewhere to somewhere else in order to get to his sister's wedding. Ah, any excuse for a road movie, what joy.

Whilst making his way to Miami, a woman in another car flashes her very niece breasts at him. A few moments later, he has a blow out in one of his tyres. That is not a euphemism. The car magically appears at a mechanics, our hero Sean finds that he has somehow lost his wallet on the freeway. The mind boggles.
A young dude, taking time off from his duties at the set of Roswell appears out of nowhere, dragging our protagonist into a full blown war between the legions of the undead and desperate humanity, a war waged on the desert backroads of Texas. Sounds interesting, doesn't it? Well, substitute "legions of undead" with "two", substitute "war" with "car chases", substitute "dialogue" with "dopey mutterings", substitute "action" with "bizarre, out of context and nonsensical explosions", and what you are left with you wouldn't use to unplug a blocked toilet with.

So, a vampire hunter called Nick (Bredan Fehr) asks our protagonist: "What do you know about vampires?" Answer: "Well, I watched Coppola's Dracula."

That is the funniest thing in the whole film. One woefully shit vampire film quoting another crap vampire flick. That's like George W Bush calling his Big Daddy George Bush a right wing arsehole who never deserved to be president. Well fuck me aren't you the observant one.

Fearless Vampire Killer Nick then goes on to explain the origin of vampires: During the Crusades, a force of nights met the infidel horde and were fucked up big time. Nine of them survived. Their woeful lamentations and exhortations of divine aid in order to get vengeance on their Islamic enemy reached the ears of Abaddon, the Fallen Angel of the Abyss, who appeared before them and granted their wish of power. He offered 8 of the nights immortality and power as long as they killed and drank the blood of their 9th friend, who recoiled in shame from the proposal. They did so, and when the dead was done, they crawled away from each other in horror. After the next day, which they'd spent hiding in the darkness of conveniently located caves, they found themselves changed in arcane ways, mostly so in their inability to stand in sunlight and their desperate thirst for human blood which could never be slaked. These 8 vampires moved across the world and are responsible for every other vampire that has come after. One of them eventually came to the States, and, as the result of his immense power, beauty and savagery, has grown into a brain damaged Guess Jeans model and attacks people for the loose change in their pockets. He is our main bad guy. Go team.
If you think any of that sounded vaguely interesting, then feel free to punch yourselves in the fucking head. None of it is shown, it's all in Vampire Hunter's exposition, so the whole time you are looking at his post-pubescent face with its prepubescent facial hair, marveling at how much he reminds you of that crazy old bearded woman you see at the supermarket occasionally, who buys nothing but bulk bags of cat food.

Any hints at any form of exploitation, gratuitous sex and nudity are just a tease, this film never puts out. The one person that truly needed to be naked, the female African American vampire Cym, (the oddly named Phina Oruche) never removes her clothing at all. You have no idea how much that pissed me off. She was one of the most stunning women I've seen thus far. Except when she opened her mouth to utter dopey lines of dialogue that hurt almost as much as the knowledge that she wasn't going to give up the goods. Damn she was fine for all of two seconds. There are times when you almost DEMAND gratuitous nudity to make up for the shite you've been putting up with for the last two hours, regardless of how out of context it may be.

But she was fucking annoying. At the end of the film when she's trying to kill these people for no reason either I or the creatively / intellectually challenged director could work out, her voice grated on my nerves so terribly that I contemplated perforating my eardrums with the heel of my shoe.

And it would have just been impossible to care. About any of it. When a film is constructed so stupidly, when a bunch of fucking morons that aren't qualified to work on the set of a porno shoot have fabricated something so shoddily that they can't even fucking remember their own "rules" for what they've set up, or cause things to happen which make no fucking sense in any possible reality, you feel like punching the staff in the theatre in the face as you walk out of the cinema for not warning you beforehand.

I'm sure most of you have more sense than me. You don't all run out and watch every vampire film that comes out simply because you're determined to watch every vampire film ever made. You people are smarter than that. I must suffer for your intelligence by being the self-designated fuckwit that endures these atrocities in order to warn you all. In that spirit, I have no trouble listing the most sphincter loosening dopily boneheaded elements held within this film from beginning to end. There's some I can't list because I just can't verbalise how dopey they are.

1) Big bad vampire Kit apparently "hides" his five / six kills a day by "disguising" their deaths as the work of a serial killer. The authorities are baffled, they have no idea that vampires are killing people along one road in Texas, they just think it's serial killers. Wow, that's a nifty plan, that's inspired, truly. That's like hiding your cocaine addiction by saying "No, I'm actually a heroin addict." I'm sure there are people that can kill openly in public and get away with it (members of the Murdoch & Packer empires come to
mind), but even an A Current Affair journalist could work out this complex conundrum.
Jounalist: Hi, we've heard that you've been killing people.
Vampire: Well...
Journalist: So, are you a vampire?
Vampire: Certainly Not! I am offended by the allegation. I am a serial killer.
Journalist: Oh well that's okay then. Carry on.

2) Apparently, vampires, or The Forsaken, can only be killed on holy ground. Fair enough. Five minutes after this is established, a vampire is killed in the car park of a motel. Gee, I guess all the holy bodily fluids expelled by priests h
having nasty affairs at motels has rendered them holy ground.

3) Apparently, vampirism is transferred as a virus through being bitten. Fair enough. Anyone that's bitten eventually becomes a vampire. Fair enough. The new person that's bitten is linked "telegenically" (that's telepathically to you in the cheap seats) to the host vampire. That means that if you're carrying around a girl that's linked to the main bad guy, the main bad guy can find you. Apparently, that's what our heroes want. Fearless Vampire Killer says so at one point, "That's what we want, we want him to come after us so I can kill him." When that is what actually happens, when the bad guys come after you, act surprised and try to drive away "Oh no! They found us! Run away, run away." On the telepathic thing, it becomes fairly fucking obvious that the main vampire can telepathically communicate with anyone he wants to, whether they're fucking vampires or not. Jesus fucking Christ, there's more consistency in an episode of Charmed. Fuck that, Sabrina the Teenage Witch makes more sense.

4) A person driving along a road can somehow drop their wallet out of the car. A wallet can spontaneously leap out of someone's jean pocket and hurl itself onto the freeway. A person who is obviously miles ahead of you on the freeway somehow picks up your wallet, when there is no way, not even with Mr Peabody's Way-Back machine, a rip inthe space / time continuum, a temporal wormhole or even a note from his mother could possibly have been there.

5) The person that makes trailers for films is the most important person at a film production studio. Fuck me, you maybe right.

6) The scene where the fattest of the Baldwin brothers strips down Sheryl Lee and searches for bite marks in John Carpenter's Vampires was soooo good, so fantastic and breathtaking, so much on a par with the pram scene in The Untouchables which itself was a homage to the steps scenes in Battleship Potemkin, that it had to be replicated shot-for-shot in The Forsaken. What the fuck were these people thinking? How do you make a waterdowned remake of a film that was so crap anyway? More importantly, why? How do you think you might succeed by removing possibly the only elements that made the film at all tolerable and having an even dopey script than the first film? Climb every mountain, indeed.

7) Let me describe a situation for you: You are male. You were recently outdoors with a male acquaintance. You found a young girl who seems sick / drugged out of her skull. You decide you're going to help her out until she can take care of herself. At this stage you know nothing about vampires or anything apart from how to gel your head properly in order to be in teen soaps. She is unconscious.

You take her back to your hotel room. You leave her on the bed. Your male acquaintance is in the room. You leave the room for a few minutes. You come back to find that your male acquaintance has stripped her naked and is slowly, teasingly trying to take her underwear off. You don't know why he's doing it. You ask, "What's going on?" Male acquaintance says, "Quickly, her blood's on fire." Is you next response:
a) Get the fuck away from her, you disgusting lecherous fuck?
b) Blood's on fire, eh? I've heard you have that effect on women, you pony
stud, move over and let Big Daddy get some?
c) Oh, okay, let's put her in the bath.
I swear officer, I didn't know she was underage. Fuck these characters can't act believably even in completely believable circumstances.

For a horror film, it is very perverse, in that it is utterly lacking in any suspense, tension, or, dare I say it, horror. For a vampire film it is such an exercise in futility that you wonder why they didn't use chihuahuas as the main villains instead. When every character on the screen is so goddawfully stupid in every scene, both alleged "heroes" and villains, the only reasons to keep watching is the hope that all of them will die. And soon.
This film doesn't even deserve going straight to video. It ranks lower than any of the recent vampire flicks you care to mention. Dracula 2000 was a better film than this (not by much, admittedly). JC's Vampires is marginally better, only because it had more hilarious gore of the cheap variety that only Carpenter can deliver, film after film. Hell, From Dusk til Dawn is Citizen fucking Kane in comparison. Think about that for a moment.
Sometimes you wish that someone could stick a big fucking stake through the heart of this genre of films, because it seems to be responsible for more utter shite than even the romantic comedy genre. Goddamn, it can't be that hard to make a decent vampire film, can it? The story practically writes itself. This is where I threaten to write a script for a vampire film. Possibly a sequel to Bloodlust, perhaps...?

Hollywood morons. I despair of the entire human race when I see films like this. Hannibal is still the dumbest film of the year, with this a close second :) I really have to stop putting that in reviews.
Do not see it. Do not rent it. It's not funny. It's not a laugh. There isn't enough crack or dope in the world to make this film tolerable. It's a waste of your time, and mine. If you go and watch this film, your mothers will feel stabbing pains in their hearts. But I don't need to tell you people that, you're smarter than that.
Just say no.

0 blood drenched breasts out of 10.

"Can I get a beer for my friend too?" - Kit, The Forsaken