|Directed by:||John Carpenter|
|Written by:||John Steakley, Don Jakoby|
|Cast:||James Woods, Daniel Baldwin, Sheryl Lee, Thomas Ian Griffith, Maximilian Schell, Tim Guinee|
John Carpenter, one of horror’s most acclaimed directors, the master behind such amazing films as Halloween, In the Mouth of Madness and the brilliant Thing remake, finally makes a vampire movie, and this is it? What a bummer. I can’t say I hated it or that I wasn’t entertained. The effects were nice and there are a couple cool deaths, notably the guy ripped in half by the vampire’s nails. But this movie looks like cheap crap and sufferes from some truly horrible writing.
Bashing the basics, this movie is just so poorly written. Especially the dialogue. You have to wonder if there was ever a script at all or these guys are just making things up as they go along. There’s hardly ever a genuine conversation between anyone, because hardly any of the characters feel like anything more than cardboard cutouts. Topped with some pretty shitty acting. Seriously, is that the best Baldwin you could come up with? The fat coke-head Baldwin?
Not only that but I have to say that I hated all the characters. Especially the guy that Wood’s plays. I just couldn’t stand that guy with his 5th grade vocabulary, his obsession with the priest’s erection and his “cuss it out then kick its ass” mentality. This guy is no badass, he's an ignorant jerk. How can people root for this guy?
And James Woods is just so out of place. He looks agitated the whole time, like he's being bothered by having to shoot his scenes. Totally uninterested and clearly just there to collect his paycheck. He just looks completely ridiculous trying to come across as a badass. With the jeans, the leather jacket, the shades and cigar. He looks like an over-the-hill Terminator.
But the story suffers just as bad as pretty much everything else. It's set up as a simple good guy vs. bad guy premise, the opposing sides are talked up to where the good guy is the best at what he does and the bad guy is the most powerful. But then seems to forget about this revenge theme and suddenly focuses on how the vampires are trying to find a way to walk in sunlight.
There are some flicks that are more easily forgivable than others, and unfortunately I couldn't help myself from nitpicking at the overbearing flaws of this one. Like the freshly bitten hooker that they bring along with them to later use as a kind of GPS to find the main vampire. That just seems so stupid to me. Doesn't that telepathic advantage work both ways? What's stopping the vampire from using her to keep tabs on where you are?
The whole thing just seemed like a lazy excuse to throw a little romance in the mix between her and Baldwin. And becomes pretty much useless anyway, by the time she's a vampire Woods just begins to doubt her judgment and doesn't even want to trust her. Wasn't it your idea to bring her along in the first place?
BOTTOM LINE: Meh. A little less than mediocre and a huge disappointment coming from a legend like Carpenter. The effects and the handful of cool kills are about the only thing this movie has going for it. It’s not the worst vampire movie I’ve ever seen, but it damn sure ain’t one of my favorites either.