ORBzine - Vampire Apocalypse - Movie Reviews

TITLE & REVIEW

The Addiction (1995)

The Addiction (1995) Grad Student Lilli Taylor is bitten by a vamp, and slowly transforms. Abel Ferrara delivers a suspenseful B&W masterpiece. Christopher Walken ( View to a Kill ) is the Master. Edie Falco also appears in a small role.

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Afflicted (2013)

Afflicted (2013) This is a found footage effort about a couple of extreme sports enthusiasts from the USA who backpack across Europe. One of the guys, Derek, hooks up with a hot girl for a one-night stand in Paris, France. His buddies discover him afterwards, unconscious with a strange bite mark.

The road trip continues, and the guys get all the way to Italy. Derek the bitten buddy cannot stand sunlight, and needs to sleep during the day. He cannot eat solid food, and pasta makes him vomit. However, he does not want to spend the rest of the vacation stuck in a hospital. The guys carry on with the trip, and keep filming it.

Before long Derek the bitten buddy gets a really severe sensitivity to sunburn. To balance this, he also gets superhuman strength. Nobody puts two and two together. In a twisted version of Genre Blindness they assume he is a superhero. They test his strength and speed, and video document everything. Reminiscent of Chronicle , but with a supernatural origin story rather than an alien science one.

Using vampiric superpowers to make the ultimate extreme sports video is certainly a new take on the genre. However, what the characters do not realise is that the more he exerts himself, the greater his transformation accelerates. In fact, at first they do not seem to realise that he is transforming.

Finally they Google vampires, and discover the symptoms match. They try cold cow's blood, and warm pigs blood. However, it seems like only human blood will do. The next problem is that they are Americans in Italy, where they barely speak the language and certainly cannot pass for locals.

Our heroes are not exactly master criminals. The police just have to follow their trail of destruction. Strangely it is not the Italian carabinieri, but for some reason the cops identify themselves as being from Interpol. It turns out that in a daylight police chase, a vamp is in far greater danger from the sunlight than from police bullets.

Derek realises that the only hope for a cure is if he finds the woman who bit him. He has to get to Paris, even though there are Interpol warrants out for his arrest.

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Against The Dark

Against The Dark A disease outbreak causes people to become blood-drinking psychos. Technically they are Vamps rather than Fast Zombies, but in this context it may as well be the same thing. A band of survivors try to escape before the deadline, without getting infected themselves.

US General Keith David ( The Thing (1982) ) wants to napalm the whole area. The clock ticks down until he calls in an airstrike. This is a blatant piece of phony jeopardy, taken from top-notch action film The Rock.

Luckily, Steven Seagal ( Under Siege ) and a bunch of special forces goons walk around in stylish black trench-coats. Like all real-life SWAT men should, Seagal comes with his own katana. Courtesy of the SyFy channel, of course.

There is also a mad scientist, an apparent reference to Italian zombie movie Dr Butcher . He only has a couple of scenes, however - he is terribly under-used, and most of the movie is a series of hand-to-hand encounters with the Infected.

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The Breed (2001)

The Breed (2001) In the USA, humans have accepted vampires as members of society. Police detective Bokeem Woodbine ( Blade: The Series ) and Transylvanian Vamp Adrian Paul ( Highlander: the Series team up to find a murderer. The resulting story is a poor thriller that wastes its time trying to be slick.

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Daybreakers (2009)

Daybreakers (2009) This is set in a future where the vampires have taken over from humans as the dominant species. It is perhaps the truest version of I Am Legend that has ever been filmed, although the influence of Matheson's novel is not acknowledged. The directors are a pair of twin brothers from Australia who also work as SPFX techs, so visual effects play a big role in this. For example, Vamps burst into flames when staked, though strangely not when decapitated.

Ethan Hawke ( Gattaca ) is a scientist working on a synthetic blood substitute. He only drinks pigs blood, though nobody has thought of mass-marketing this as a substitute. Human blood is running out, and starving vamps are degrading into full-blown Sub-suckers.

What starts out as a futuristic drama like Gattaca turns into action-adventure closer to John Carpenter's Vampire$ when our reluctant protagonist meets Willem Dafoe ( Spiderman ), a cured vamp. Together they have to fight off the Vampire Army run by Sam Neill ( The Dish ), and perfect the cure.

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Daylight's End (2016)

Daylight's End Rourke (Johnny Strong - Fast and the Furious ) is a drifter who drives across a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The human race has been transformed into monsters by a virus or something. They are more like vampires than fast zombies - they burn up when exposed to direct sunlight.

The protagonist teams up with a bunch of cops in SWAT armour. The extras get helmets, but the main characters (who have to be photogenic and easily identifiable) do not. Their leaders are the former Chief of Detectives (Lance Hendricksen - Terminator ) and his son (Louis Mandylor - ).

At the end of the day, this has high production values and a couple of recognisable names in the cast. Some of the supporting actors do not perform as strongly, but on a low-budget B-movie you can only expect so much.

Normally low-budget horror movies suffer by being written and directed by a single person. Luckily this effort avoided the same problem by having different specialists for each task. However, there is a different example of one participant Johnny Strong is not only the star, he is also a producer and he wrote and performed the soundtrack.

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Dracula (1931)

Dracula (1931) This is the classic black and white adaptation with Bela Lugosi ( Plan 9 from outer Space ) in the lead role. It was predated by Nosferatu (1929) , the silent German pastiche that illegally copied the original novel. However, this is the first talkie version in the English language. There is also a Spanish-language version, made for the Mexican market, with a second crew that re-used the original set and costumes.

Dracula (Lugosi) travels to England, where he falls foul of Doctor Van Helsing.

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Embrace of the Vampire (2013)

Embrace of the Vampire (2013) A young American woman attends college in eastern Europe. Suspicious people she encounters include Professor Victor Webster ( Continuum ) and Gypsy woman Keegan Connor Tracey .

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Fright Night (2011)

Fright Night (2011) Anton Yelchin (Green Room) is a teenager living in Las Vegas with his single mother ( Toni Collette ). His life is a stereotypical American High School experience, complete with girlfriend Imogen Poots and a couple of soon-to-be Bad Neighbours Frat-boys - nerdy best buddy Christopher Mintz-Plasse ( Kick-Ass ) and annoying Dave Franco ( Warm Bodies ).

Our hero gets suspicious when a new neighbour (Colin Farrell - Daredevil ) moves in next door. Before long he discovers that the new guy is a murderous vampire. Predictably, nobody will believe him.

Our hero calls in the local vampire expert - a theatrical magician named Peter Vincent (David Tennant - Dr Who (2005) ). Yes, the old-fashioned former horror movie actor character from the 1980s version has been updated for the Twenty-First Century.

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Fright Night 2: New Blood (2013)

Fright Night 2: New Blood (2013) This is not a sequel to the Colin Farrell movie, it is a remake. Charlie and his best mate Ed are American exchange students in Romania. Their college dorm room has a view that looks into the bedroom of his Professor - Jamie Murray . It turns out that, despite her being an English actress attempting an American accent, she is in fact Erzebet Bathory - yes, old Countess Dracula herself!

The most impressive and original sequence is when Ed shows Charlie a web comic of Bathory's origin story. This is a great example of visual exposition, and adds a few new touches to the backstory. Bathory came to the USA aboard the Hindenberg, and was responsible for the Black Dahlia murder! Eventually she got homesick and returned home to Bucharest, where this film is set.

The boys call on Peter Vincent for help. He has been updated to a Web-TV Ghost Facer type, which is a lot more modern than the old 1980s-style actor-turned-TV presenter.

Despite being a remake of a remake, shot on the cheap in Eastern Europe, this is actually quite a decent film. The Romanian setting actually works for it, as does the cynical genre-savvy approach of the script.

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Nosferatu The Vampyre (1979)

Nosferatu The Vampyre (1979) This is a remake of the black and white silent movie Nosferatu (1922) . While the original was at best an homage to Dracula , and fell foul of a copyright claim by Bram Stoker's widow, this newer version is a straight-up version of the book. It even uses the names, although the final act in Europe is taken from the 1922 movie - with dialogue taken from the original.

Jonathan Harker visits Count Dracula (Klaus Kinski - ), a freakish bald man with pale skin and unusual dental traits. The Count travels to Europe, while Harker is left trapped in the man's decaying castle. Eventually Harker escapes and gives pursuit.

The climax involves Harker's fiance Lisa ( Isabelle Adjani ), who outsmarts the vampire and traps him in a subtle but breathtaking scene.

The ending is also a twisted one, which is shockingly memorable and well-executed.

The main difference between this movie and the original, other than the title character's name, is that Klaus Kinski's portrayal is more sympathetic. Note - within two years, Kinski's daughter ( Nastasja Kinski ) starred in Cat People .

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Priest (2011)

Priest (2011) This is set in a dystopian future. America is a post-apocalyptic wasteland, like a western with vampires instead of Native Americans. In parts it is like The Searchers, as the heroes try to save kidnapped damsel Lily Cole .

The Sheriff (Cam Gigandet - Twilight (2008) ) gets help from a Priest (Paul Bettany - A Knight's Tale ). The Priests are a special unit of vampire-slayers. Unfortunately their leadership does not believe in the rescue mission, so they send Maggie Q to bring Bettany back.

The villainous leader of the vamps (Karl Urban - Dredd 3-D ) used to be a Priest himself. Underneath his black hat (yes, not exactly subtle) he still has the symbolic tattoo of the crucifix.

As befitting the Western movie cliches, the searchers get reluctant assistance from a snake-oil salesman (Brad Douriff - Child's Play ). And like all anachronistic sci-fi westerns these days, this has a climactic battle aboard a speeding steam-train.

The storyline may be derivative, but this is still a well-shot action-adventure film. If you are looking for an enjoyable if brainless action flick, you could do a lot worse than this one. There is lots of CGI which takes no account of the laws of physics, and as a result the action scenes seem quite cartoonish. However, they are very pretty and nice to look at. Perhaps this is because it is based on a Korean graphic novel.

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Redwood (2017)

Redwood (2017) This is set in the USA but filmed in Poland. There are no actual giant redwood trees involved. The title seems to refer to red woods in the sense that the woods are the scene of bloodletting.

The film starts with a prelude that sets the tone. A woman helps an injured man into a mysterious temple. Unfortunately this leads up to a human sacrifice.

The main story concerns a couple who go hiking in the woods. They meet a stranger (Nicholas Brandon - Buffy The Vampire Slayer ) who claims to be a Park Ranger. He certainly does not seem to be the type.

That night, things get reminiscent of the prelude sequence to Dog Soldiers . The difference being that instead of werewolves, they discover the woods are full of vampires.

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The Shed (2019)

The Shed (2019) Frank Whalley ( Broken Arrow ) is out hunting in the woods when he gets attacked by a Nosferatu . The good news is, they turn to ash when hit with sunlight. The bad news is, Whalley gets bitten. Luckily he manages to hide in a nearby shed as the sun starts to rise.

The shed is in the back yard of the protagonist's house. Its new inhabitant changes the life of the protagonist, a teenager who is bullied by everyone - his grandfather, the cops and the High School gang. His best friend, Dahmer, wants to use the vampire to get even with his enemies.

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Stake Land (2010)

Stake Land (2010) This is narrated by a tweenage boy who tags along with the middle-aged man who saved him from monsters in the apocalypse - like in Zombieland . However, this has a much more serious tone - like in The Walking Dead . Also, this time it is blood-drinkers rather than brain-eaters.

The pair are driving north to Canada, rather than West to California. They team up with a couple of women - a raped nun ( Kelly Mcgillis ) and a pregnant girl ( Danielle Harris ). They also run into a klan of bible-thumpers led by Jebediah (Michael Cerveris - Fringe ).

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The StakeLander (2016)

The StakeLander (2016)

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Sundown: The Vampire In Retreat (1989)

Sundown: The Vampire In Retreat (1989) Vampiric Count Mardulok (David Carradine - Kill Bill (2003) ) and his minions live in a town in Utah. They all have to wear shades and sunblock, but it keeps them safe. The plan is to build a factory that can produce synthetic blood - like in True Blood a couple of decades later.

There are some strangers in town. Bobby Briggs from Twin Peaks and his GF, Elizabeth Gracen , are camping nearby. Also, a nerdy young vamp-hunter (Bruce Campbell - Evil Dead ) arrives in town.

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Twixt (2011)

Twixt (2011) Like a lot of low-budget supernatural suspense films, this was written and directed by one person. Unusually, that person turns out to be Francis Ford Coppola - who also produced it. How the mighty have fallen!

Hall Baltimore (Val Kilmer - Willow ) earns a living by doing book-signings at bookstores. He ends up in a small redneck town where the nearest thing to a bookstore is a shelf in the hardware store. Sheriff Bruce Dern ( Hateful Eight ) pulls him in to investigate the Vampiric murder of Virginia ( Elle Fanning ).

Baltimore has to pay alimony to his wife (played by Kilmer's RL ex-wife Joanne Whalley ). As a result he talks his Publisher (David Paymer - Chill Factor ) into accepting the book. Unfortunately this means he has to solve the murder. Luckily he is helped by the ghost of Edgar Allen Poe (Ben Chaplin - Dorian Grey ).

The story's reliance on dream sequences (rendered in monochrome, like in Sin City ) makes it inaccessible to a mainstream audience, who find it confusing.

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    Vampire$: Los Muertos (2002)

    Vampire$: Los Muertos (2002) This is a predictable straight-to-video/DVD rehash. Jon Bon Jovi (Ally McBeal) tries to fill the James Woods role as he tracks an uber-vamp across Mexico.

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    Vampyre Nation (2012) AKA True Bloodthirst

    Vampyre Nation (2012) This is set in Budapest, in a world where Vamps have come out of the closet. Former vamp-hunter Jonathan Harker (Andrew Lee Potts - Red Mist ) teams up with policeman Neil Jackson ( Blade: The Series ).

    The plot is pretty much a rip-off from Blade 2 . Humans and vamps are being attacked by gargoyles - stone-faced flying vamps. But who created the virus that turns vamps into gargoyles?

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    Soon

    Soon

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