Perhaps this after-school special can best be summed up in the following quote:
|"Rod’s given me powers of vampires and stuff… and I’m not scared of you!"|
Yes, that’s right fans, Rod has the ability to grant ‘vampire powers’. Oh, ‘and stuff’.
When you’re a teenager who has lived for 500 years you get to grant powers to other teenagers, because at that age, who else could you possibly relate to but teenagers? Most teenagers don’t trust anyone over 30, but Rod just has a power. Vampire Power™. It’s like Girl Power™, but you get to wear black overcoats and spout hackneyed wisdom about ‘the Gates of Hell’ and blood-sucking.
This film is based on the real-life exploits of Rod Ferrell, a teenage self-professed vampire who gathers himself a coven of fempires and one young-manpire and between them they steal a car, beat two harmless parents to death and then drive off like nothing happened. The fact the parents were Heather’s and she’s one of the fempires doesn’t really help her out much though.
Her sister comes home and finds the bodies before the law are everywhere searching for the thieves who took the car (and murdered Heather’s parents). Meanwhile, the kids are getting their kicks on Route 666 and on the Highway to Hell, except when Heather finds out and she tries to escape, sort of. Then the morons phone one of their moms to send money, leaving a phone number where she can reach the Vampire Clan. And mom squeals like all good adults would, selling the teenagers down the river. Sweet. Good one, Mom.
Acting is new to many of these youngsters but they aren’t the real ones to blame. Whoever doctored the storyline to make it into the most penetrating script is really. Or tried to. (By the way, just a tip for the scriptwriters and makeup artists and director; when you beat a human head with a solid crowbar 15 or 16 times, it disintegrates. The skin doesn’t just fall off.)
While this has attempted to be a hard-hitting story about the exploits of this bunch of moronic teenagers, it is actually just weak. Some of the lines are embarrassingly teenage and so over-melodramatic they produced wry smiles from this audience. (I don’t think they were supposed to though.) Obviously aimed at a Gothic teen audience, the whole thing is just a silly little film about a rather horrible and true murder. It wouldn’t be so bad as it were, but there’s just no story here. The lead boy does a double murder and they hit the road. They are soon caught and go to jail. The end. Any Gothic kids thinking this looks like a cool dark film that reflects their souls will be disappointed and most likely laugh themselves silly. And then host a lively discussion (between bum-puffs of foreign cigarettes and slurps of Starbucks coffee) as to why these guys weren’t true vampires. Because real vampires don’t kill people… they assimilate them into their unholy army of the undead.
Everyone knows that (puff, slurp). Let’s watch Blade instead.
The picture quality here is pretty sound, although there are some grainy instants in the numerous night shots. Colours are clear and even with blacks being true (and so much black) with shadow detail fluctuating between good and shithouse. Some shots in broad daylight seem to be using handheld video cameras, but maybe that’s because the shampires don’t appear on any other kind or something. Or the cameramen were scared of catching vampire. In the broad daylight. (The kids in the story all seem to forget that old adage… And they cast reflections in mirrors! These kids just haven’t done their vampire homework).
Flesh tones are quite funny. Sometimes Rod has on pale makeup and sometimes he just looks sickly and pallid. Sometimes greyish. The other kids are fine in that department but his makeup fluctuates. Some aliasing crops up occasionally and the character called Scott sports one of the greatest teen moustaches I have ever had the pleasure of seeing on DVD or any other format, including real life. Nice one, manpire. An extra yellow-spot for that.
A double bag of Dolby Digital 5.1 surround or Dolby Digital stereo. I went with the surround mix and this shot music all around the room and totally enveloped everything else going on. It smothered the dialogue so heavily at points I thought it was an effect until I heard CB radio-quality dropping out of speech when there was no music. Maybe you need some Vampire Powers™ to understand it or something. Perhaps the film is actually presented in Vampirama®™ and I need to upgrade my system again. At least the subwoofer gives us some constant bass for the hardcore Gothic acts everyone’s heard of who do the soundtrack. Big bands like Kick Me Kate, Genitorturers and Dirty Barby all appear, but the latter just sounds like what’s still in the backyard from my birthday party a month back (and therefore not ghoulish at all).
The soundtrack has been scored by Guy Harrington and this again takes control of the audio. It feels a lot like Mr. Harrington has taken elements of Danny Elfman’s work and thrown them into a blender with a pint of blood and then poured it down the sink. It is effective occasionally, but generally pretty ordinary.
This film strikes me as a telemovie or an after-school special on what-not-to-do with your teenage years. It doesn’t seem to be a Goth-bash, but that may be perceived by some, I dunno. A lot of it sensationalises a ghastly crime by making out there is some sort of story here when actually there’s very little supporting the whole thing.
Any Goths thinking this is some sort of Angel/Buffy-like film aimed at them will be sorely mistaken and most likely disappointed by this lack of substance. And extras.
And don't forget, you might need Vampirama®™ as well...