Bad Movies Beware!
WHAT. A. YEAR.
First, I get knocked on the damned head so hard that I end up under the care of a neurologist. Don’t worry, I’m fine now, but it stopped me in my tracks pretty good. Then, I publish a book, get invited to judge at two film festivals, and wind up at my first year at DragonCon. In between, it’s been appearances and book signings left and right, cons galore, and a work schedule that reminds me that I listen to Death Metal to relax.
Yeah, it’s been hectic.
While I was at G2K Games here in my hometown, I ran across this little gem. It looked interesting enough, but little did I know that this gem was actually a turd corn cosplaying as a gem.
Anyway: Meet Rebecca!
Ol’ Becky is out one night when she’s assaulted by a vampire and left for dead. A couple of Federal spooks take her body and resurrect her as a genetically engineered vampire for their elite black-ops program designed to tackle supernatural issues. They train her to fight, and she quickly becomes their top agent.
“A turd? This sounds awesome!”
Yeah, I’ve played Bloodrayne, too. Just wait for it.
And I do mean wait. And keep waiting. Yeah, I could do what I typically do and give you the synopsis, but I’d like this review to NOT be 3,000 words. The writer/producer/director decided that we needed background on EVERY character, right down to characters who, frankly, don’t really matter for more than a scene or two. It’s all interwoven between scenes of Rebecca training, coping with being a vampire, and being paid in time spent watching her husband and son mourn her death and live their lives.
Then come the witches!
Um…yeah, not really.
Rebecca comes back from one of her visits and finds the entire agency dead. The witches attack, and she kills all of them except one, who takes her down with a tranquilizer dart.
As it turns out, a different group killed Rebecca’s agency while looking for something. Madeline, the leader of a group of genetically engineered witches from the same program that created Rebecca, is the one who took Rebecca and brought her in for a job: recover the Witches Hammer before the vampire Hugo finds it and uses it to summon the Souls of the Damned to take over the world.
Why yes! Yes, he IS a giant cliché!
We then get an entire history of the book, who created it, and what happened to the young woman who wrote it. THIS background story was handy. And it’s the first of many, so if you decide to watch this movie, buckle up. You’re in for a HAUL.
Edward, Madeline’s assistant, is assigned to Rebecca. He hates her simply because she’s a vampire, but they soon form a friendship that Edward seems to want more out of. Meanwhile, another set of vampires is also looking for the book. Meet Charlotte and Oscar. Charlotte is a morbidly obese female vampire, and Oscar is her little person lover.
Frankly, this is where the movie becomes what it should’ve been from ground zero. It turns into a very Joss Whedon-style (love him or hate him) kind of Badass Vamp Chick film with a lot of offbeat humor and fight scenes that are fun to watch.
After a brawl in the bar that ends with Rebecca staking Charlotte and Edward beating Oscar unconscious with a frying pan, they head to the castle where Hugo and his troupe await. Frankly, I don’t want to give away too much here, though I will say that the plan to resurrect Katanya, the girl who wrote the Witches Hammer, is foreseeable from the moment you watch her backstory.
So, let’s just get on with the verdict!
VERDICT: Painfully watchable.
Yeah, it’s not that bad of a stink log.
This is a British indie film, and that’s significant because their indie cinema tends to be better quality than ours. Frankly, it’s because they get government funding for arts over there, as do a lot of European countries. Not to s**t on American indie cinema, but decent camera equipment, sets, and gear cost real money.
ANYWAY: let’s start with the problems and work our way down from there.
The biggest issue with this movie isn’t the cinematography, which is a little shoddy. It’s the writing and directing. There is WAY too much exposition in this film. The movie doesn’t really begin until Rebecca comes back from her visit with her family and finds the agency destroyed. Until then, we get twenty minutes of her backstory, training, and backstory of the agency that doesn’t really matter in the long run.
There’s also a LOT of backstory on characters who have little to no screen time. Victor, the assassin working for Hugo, has an entire scene about his past, yet he was only in two scenes in the movie where he did much of anything. We got an entire sequence about Edward’s wife, and it was a story that could’ve been told in very little dialogue and less shooting time. A lot of Rebecca pining over her family could’ve been left out of this one as well, and probably would’ve resulted in a tighter, more concise film.
Instead, they attempted War and Peace…with Vampires.
The second act of the film almost makes up for the dragging first act, as it speeds up the action and the wit. It makes it watchable on the whole, but don’t think you’ll be able to do it stone cold sober. Giving it four Piles of S**t. Not terrible, but it could’ve been a lot better than it was.