Tuesday, October 26, 2010


What a curious film this is. It’s ostensibly a vampire film, except that since most of the world’s population has already been transformed, it plays more like some government conspiracy thriller instead, complete with frequent car chases and gun battles (you know, all the things that a person goes to see a vampire movie for). We wind up with a bit of a confused genre-bending mess, though admittedly a very nice-looking one.

The film is set ten years from now, after a virus has transformed most of the human population into vampires, and the remaining humans have mostly been eaten, leading to severe blood rationing and a great amount of starvation among the vampire population. Enter Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke), a researcher who is trying to find a way to synthesize fake blood in a lab for his vampire brethren to drink so that the human race doesn’t go extinct, but faces strong opposition from more mainstream vampires, who feel that if it doesn’t come from a human, then it’s completely worthless. We also get Willem Dafoe, rocking a completely ridiculous attempt at a Southern accent (which fades in and out depending on how he‘s feeling at the moment), who has found a cure for the vampiric virus. But will he be allowed to enact it???

The main problem I have with this movie is pretty much the same one I had with writer-directors Michael and Peter Spierig’s previous film Undead, in that they don’t seem to know what kind of movie they want to make, so they just threw in everything they possibly could. Is it a vampire movie? Is it a thriller? Is it an action movie? The filmmakers don’t seem to know, and so they jump from genre to genre, not really committing to any of them enough for us to build up a real interest in the movie.

The film does have a strong visual sense (the one real strength of Undead), with some top-notch special effects, and unlike Undead, they have enough of a budget that they can afford quality actors. Granted, they then have the actors doing completely absurd things, like Dafoe half-assedly trying to convince us he’s from the South, but the effort was there. It’s a more polished effort all around, and shows the brothers are capable of making a major motion picture.

Of course, if they’re going to continue in Hollywood, they may want to consider hiring a script polisher to hone their next few projects. Right now the only thing keeping them from a major hit (this film made about $30 million in theaters, enough for a tiny profit) is how confused and formless their scripts are. If they can fix that, they’re really going to start going places.

Rating: **

1 comment:

katsucurrys14 said...

glad i didn't go see it