Tuesday, July 8, 2008

This Darkness: Vampire Virus

Low budget films have had quite an impact on the horror genre. George Romero’s best work has been done on a shoestring budget, and many other film makers have overcome budgetary limitations with wit and ingenuity. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work.

This Darkness: Vampire Virus is an unfortunate example of the less successful low budget film. Writer-director-star Dylan O’Leary plays Dr. Abraham van Helsing (“Call me Van”), a leading genetic researcher. We meet him when he is giving a fifteen minute lecture to a class on genetics. This is done in real time (yawn), and features such insight as, quote, “Your father contributes half your DNA, and your mother contributes half your DNA. They are mixed when they get together and go chima-chima-banga-maow-maow.”


Despite the metaphors, the class enjoys the lecture, one young lass telling him it was the most informative fifteen minutes of her life.

As a sideline, Van has also discovered a serum that will give the user immortality. This attracts the attention of the local vampires, who are after the serum for….I really didn’t catch that part. Van is well prepared for this, since he is a student of martial arts. We learn this when he pays a visit to his local dojo, a visit that lasts for twenty minutes of screentime, and features innumerable demonstrations of martial art stunts. I assume the martial arts studio was an investor in the film, and wanted some free publicity.

Anyway, his workout complete, Van is soon being pursued by the vampires, a circumstance he regards with the coolness of Arnold Schwarzeneggar, although he’s just a pudgy middle aged guy in glasses. He soon discovers that the only way to kill vampires is to shoot them in the head. Wait….

(My theory is the writer fell asleep during a late night showing of Dracula, and woke up during the subsequent Night of the Living Dead, and thought they were the same film.)

The head vampire, Tarquin, has plans for Van. He wants van to use his serum to make him the perfect bride. If you think they’re now stealing from Bride of Frankenstein, you’re just cynical and untrusting. During their confrontation, Tarquin has the following perplexing exchange with the good doctor:

Tarquin: I have been a vampire since I was turned 300 years ago.
Van: Who turned you?
Tarquin: I DID!

Zen Vampirism. Or maybe he just didn’t understand the question. Anyway, Tarquin proceeds to kill Van’s entire family to force him to do his bidding, which perturbs our hero not in the slightest. He’s banging a hot young coed and, like Nick Saban, doesn’t have time for that shit.
In a startling (snicker) turn, the coed turns out to be a vampire herself. Van just thought she had a naturally low body temperature. And in another twist that gave me an Ewww moment, but again didn’t bother our guy Van at all, she is also his mother, meaning he’s been doing Mom. Heh. Eventually, the vampires are all shot through the head and defeated.

I would criticize the lighting problems, poor camerawork, and amateurish lighting, but that would be piling on, and at this point, if you still want to see the movie, I don’t think that would bother you.

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