AUGUST 3, 2008
Since the dawn of the Internet, there have been movie sites. And among those movie sites were sites devoted solely to horror movies. And on those sites, there has been endless speculation about a sequel to The Lost Boys. So many different ideas and iterations of a sequel have been tossed around, it was almost something of a downer when The Lost Boys: The Tribe officially went into production, with a cast and a synopsis and everything. Part of the fun was wondering “what if?”. And, just like the last “should have been left up to our imaginations” movie (Freddy Vs Jason), the result is, unsurprisingly, pretty disappointing.
With the wealth of good ideas (and hell, even TITLES - what ever happened to The Lost Girls?) that were superior to what we see on screen, you gotta wonder why they went this particular route. The entire film just reeks of missed opportunity. Corey Feldman is obviously the big draw, yet he probably has less screen time than he did in the original. Our vampires are all extreme sports junkies, yet they do almost nothing “extreme” beyond harass some cops (much has been made of the “surfing vampires” idea – but we see them surf for about 12 seconds in the opening scene, and never again), and the cops disappear from the movie after this to boot. Early on, the vampires kill another vampire, sort of setting up a Blade II style war that never actually occurs. They also make a point of talking about how the sun never comes out in this gloomy town, but again, nothing is done with this idea. Christ, even the alternate endings (which involve the other Frog brother being a master vampire coming to fight his brother, with Corey Haim’s Sam caught in the middle) show more promise.
Another problem is the complete lack of consistency between the first film and this. The vampires are completely different; instead of being able to fly, they can just run really fast (this notion gave me flashbacks to that great SNL sketch of Superman’s funeral, where Flash bemoaned how Superman had “super strength, the ability to fly.... and all I can do is run fast.”). Their makeups also look nothing like Greg Cannon’s original designs. And the film never makes character relationships clear; supposedly, our two leads, Chris and Nicole, are the children of Michael and Star, but they never actually say that in the movie. They share the same last name, but that’s about all the evidence we get. Well, the orangely named Autumn Reeser’s character is told she looks just like her mother, but since Reeser couldn’t possibly look LESS like Jami Gertz, maybe this was just a rumor after all. Kiefer Sutherland’s brother Angus plays the main vampire, but if he’s supposed to be David’s brother, again, we aren’t ever told that. And when you consider that most of Feldman’s scenes are pretty removed from the main plot (he only kills one vampire, never even meets Angus’ character, and spends most of his scenes in his trailer talking to Chris) it’s almost like the idea to make it a sequel came to mind about 75% of the way through production.
They also commit a cardinal sin – setting a movie in California and having someone with a Dunkin Donuts coffee. FUCK YOU! THERE ARE NO GODDAMN DUNKINS IN CA! And every time a movie betrays its filming location (as usual, we are in Canada, not California) by displaying my beloved and sorely missed Dunkies, the movie is automatically docked a letter grade, which on this movie wasn’t very high to begin with.
So is it a complete loss? Well, no. Edgar’s scenes with Chris are pretty fun, and Feldman is, unsurprisingly, the best thing the movie has going for it. His tough guy voice may sound a bit ridiculous now that he’s like 35 years old, but at least it’s consistent with the first film. The kills are also fairly gory, if ridiculously inconsistent with one another (one vamp turns to stone, one turns into a husk, one just dies, and one bursts into flame). Also, the film’s best idea, one sadly not used enough, is that the vampires like to screw around with the idea of immortality; they often just stab and gut each other for laughs.
I also took perverse pleasure in the film’s borderline incestuous theme. Chris and Nicole are a bit too close at times; at one point he puts his head in her lap as he announces his desire for them to simply stay in for the night. He also gets completely enraged whenever a guy talks to her. Yet, he has no problem giving her a beer (she’s 17). Weird, and thus awesome (also gives the movie’s theme song – re-recorded by terrible alt rock band Aiden – a whole new meaning). Had they gone all out and just had them make out, I’d probably forgive the movie's other faults.
Also, Reeser may be playing the most annoying character in the film, as she is prone to start shrieking and crying at the drop of a hat, but at least she appears "nude":
Yes, we are supposed to believe that she is nude there. The shot comes right after fake Kiefer removes her (red) bra.
The DVD comes with a few features besides the aforementioned alternate endings, but they are all pretty worthless. Most depressing is a 5 minute piece with Feldman, in character, talking about all the different ways to kill a vampire, interspersed with clips of Chris killing vampires, since there’s not actually enough footage of Edgar Frog in action to make up a whole extra feature. Unsurprisingly, the writer is nowhere to be seen; even though only Hans Rodionoff is credited with the script, there is simply no way what is onscreen could be one person’s vision, since it’s so all over the place.
Back when I saw the original film a few weeks ago, they showed a scene from this film afterwards, and I came away with two thoughts: 1. It seemed like director PJ Pesce was a bit of a douche, and 2. The scene sucked. But I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt since it was out of context, so I tried going into this with a clean slate. But no, it just sucked. Worse, Pesce claimed that the original film’s vampires were boring and interchangeable (except for Kiefer, obviously), and that in his film they all had strong personalities and were unique. Well, apart from the one black vampire who sounds like Little Jacob from GTAIV, they're, if anything, MORE interchangeable here. I literally could not tell the other 2 vampire lackeys apart, to the point where I got confused after one of them was killed and I thought he was suddenly resurrected. And Angus is a dreadful bore, coming off more like a pretentious lead singer (he reminds me a lot of Russell Brand's character in Forgetting Sarah Marshall) than a vampire OR an extreme surfer. At least now we know why Kiefer is so badass and awesome – he apparently stole his brother’s charisma when the lad was born, leaving poor Angus completely without personality.
So there you have it folks, the first movie in history where you can say “I wish Joel Schumacher had directed it.”
What say you?