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Screen Gems, Inc.
Official Site
Director: J.S. Cardone
Producer: Scott Einbinder, Carol Kottenbrook
Written by: J.S Cardone
Cast: Kerr Smith, Brendan Fehr, A.J. Buckley, Izabella Miko, Johnathon Schaech, Phina Oruche, Matt Reid, Simon Rex

Rating: out of 5

It appears that in the new millennium Dracula’s return has gripped the popular imagination, as more than one film has recently revisited the myth that, since Coppola’s BRAM STROKER’S DRACULA, has been avoiding the light of day—SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE, DRACULA 2000, and now THE FORSAKEN. Each film takes its starting point in the myth itself and recalls all the conventions of the genre, but there is little thematic consistency. THE FORSAKEN adds a new dimension by combining this genre with the road film, while relying on the exchange of blood as a metaphor for impure sexual interaction and disease first introduced in Coppola’s epic update.

Sean (Smith, of “Dawson’s Creek”), a film editor who works at a “B” picture house which has produced such classics as DUKE NUKEM HIGH, hits the open road for a week’s vacation. Driving across the southwest he picks up a hitchhiker and becomes entangled in the world of “the forsaken.” As it turns out, the hitchhiker, Nick, is a vampire hunter searching for the head vampire who infected him. Luckily, Nick knows how to slow the effects of the virus that will eventually cause him to “turn” or become a vampire, through drugs. Another infected victim who has not yet turned joins the party and infects Sean. Now they must all find the head vampire before they too turn because, as legend has it, if you kill the head vampire the infection will dissipate.

As a metaphor for disease the film is an overstatement, but as a throwaway B picture, the likes of which Sean edits, it would work much better. The film initially seems to be a critique of the hopelessness of modern times and the irony of our reality, but it never follows through. The problem is the film tries too hard to be more than that. Kit (Schaech) is so over-the-top as the head vampire that it seems like he’s the only one who realizes what kind of movie he’s in. Smith and Fehr have way too much screen time for being such underdeveloped characters and just end up weighing it down. Schaech almost seems to be reprising his role from Gregg Araki’s THE DOOM GENERATION, only this time as a vampire. THE FORSAKEN has many parallels to Araki’s road film THE LIVING END, which is the story of a young gay man who takes to the road once he finds he has AIDS. Director J.S. Cardone also uses similar visual techniques obviously co-opted from Araki.

Despite its potential, THE FORSAKEN attempts to combine too many traditions into one. The result is an incomplete and fragmented narrative. The love interest subplot is laughable and the epilog, which leaves plenty of room for a sequel, doesn’t tie any of the narrative strands together. I wouldn’t say avoid this movie—it does have some good qualities and my audience didn’t seem to dislike it—but I will warn not to expect too much. You won’t be thinking about this movie the seconds after the credits roll.

—Eric Vanstrom

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

It’s worth a full-price ticket.

It’s worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...

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