DECEMBER 11, 2010
Attention filmmakers: we no longer ask for movies featuring vampires fighting werewolves. Between the multiple Underworld and Twilight movies, we've had our fill. We certainly don't need low-budget variants like Wolvesbayne, which is actually a sequel to something called Dracula's Curse, a fact I might have liked to have known when they reached the point of the movie where random characters from the previous film returned as if it was a big deal.
And also when the film would get bogged down in its nonsensical mythology, which threatened to make Underworld look easy to follow in comparison. Say what you will about Twilight, but at least Stephanie Meyer had the good sense (or the limited creative skills, depending on your perspective) to keep the shit simple - they hate each other because they're natural enemies and little more. With this, we just get a bunch of hooey about curses and magic amulets and a whole bunch of other gobbledy gook that would probably be baffling even to those who had seen the original film (I am of the opinion that if you change the title and make no effort to sell it as a sequel, the audience shouldn't be expected to have that film's information at hand).
Plus the monsters are so damn generic. The main vampire guy is a typical Eurotrash overlord who sits around and yells instead of doing anything. The main female vampire villain is named Lilith and has ties to Countess Bathory. The hero notices he may be turning into a werewolf when he realizes he only wants to eat meat and has overcharged senses. Etc, etc. It would be one thing if there was a severe drought of vampire and/or werewolf movies, but with such a crowded market, I am baffled why the filmmakers couldn't be bothered to do anything unique with their story.
To be fair, like yesterday's House of Bones (they're both on the same disc, in fact), it does have some surprising personality sprinkled throughout the film, keeping it watchable if not exactly GOOD. There's a really cool kill where the bad guy wraps a plastic bag around the victims head and bites, letting the arterial spray cover the bag from the inside (if it's taken from another movie, it's one I haven't seen). I also laughed heartily at what a total dick Jeremy London's hero was in the early parts of the film - at one point he leaves a two dollar tip on an 82 dollar dinner bill.
Also, I liked how every goddamn building in the movie had brick walls. Perhaps everything was shot on the same location (if so, hell of a job on the production designer's part), but I like to think that the DP just had a weird brick fetish and tried to find locations that had them or else he'd be like "Nope, this place won't work". Seriously, if you watch Wolvesbayne, drink every time you see another brick wall.
Do NOT, however, drink every time you hear a particularly terrible line of dialogue, because you will die of liver problems before it reaches its epic (read: shitty) conclusion. Poor Christy Romano is saddled with some of the worst, pointing out that "Sarah McLachlan and wine helps calm her down", and later offering this overwritten bit of obviousness, when London asks her what happened to her mentor: "He's dead. (pause) They killed him. (pause) The vampires." No, really? You have spent the last 5 minutes talking about how you're part of this eternal war with the vampires, do you really think he or the audience needs clarification on how someone involved died? Not a lot of heart attacks or botched robbery related deaths in this line of work.
Apart from a few kills, the action sucks too. Many of the scenes involve several different fights going on at once, but the editor wasn't skilled enough to maintain any sense of rhythm or coherency when he cut from one to the other, rendering most of them fairly choppy and ruining what otherwise could have been some cool kills/stunts. Mark Dacascos and Yancy Butler are no strangers to action/fighting choreography, but you'd never know it from watching their lame battles here. They also reuse shots from time to time, which just adds to the general "huh?"ness of the rare action scenes (most of the movie is just someone rambling about something uninteresting). I'm also at a loss to explain his occasional and never necessary use of split screen effects.
Or why they couldn't just shoot a few seconds of a city in the rain instead of using some shitty CGI model:
Also, this is not the fault of the filmmakers, but it would be nice if First Look Studios could apply some logic when watermarking their screeners. If the movie that you are trying to promote has a lot of subtitled vampire dialogue, don't put your fucking watermark over it! It's bad enough that they used a huge font and laid it over the entire movie (as opposed to the "every 10-15 minutes" system just about everyone else uses), but they can at least put it somewhere less intrusive. It's mostly readable, but squinting and using deduction skills to figure out the dialogue is hardly something I want to deal with when watching DTV Jeremy London movies.And now I have to watch Dracula's Curse, due to my OCD. Thanks a lot, Wolvesbayne.
What say you?
P.S. I was joined for this classic by my good friend JB, who is currently hard at work finishing up a documentary called My Name Is Jonah - check out the trailer HERE and become their Facebook friend!