ninth symphony films - movie reviews

THE FORSAKEN (2001)


DIRECTOR  -  j.s. cardone

RATED  -  r

GENRE  -  vampires

LENGTH  -  90 minutes

RELEASED  -  27 april 2001

DISTRIBUTOR  -  screen gems

OFFICIAL SITE  -  the forsaken

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $5,000,000
the forsaken - a shot from the film

BUY THE DVD:

buy the dvd from the forsaken at amazon.com

buy the dvd from the forsaken at amazon.com


SYNOPSIS:
a young man gets involved in a war against vampires.




MOVIE FACT:
after a series of bad test screenings, the film was completely re-cut before it was released.


MOVIE FOTOS:

picture from the forsaken

picture from the forsaken



RATING:


zero out of four possible stars

The mystery and awe always associated with vampire films is nothing if not absent from this film. And the film isn't that successful as a straight horror film, either. It's not particularly scary, an aspect which is the main requirement in a horror film. And the performances aren't in any way impressive. In fact, most everything about this film is boring. The storyline is uninteresting, the vampire element is underdeveloped, and the look of the film itself is very bland.

One of the largest elements missing from this film is a sense of style. It's one part low-budget B-movie and some parts MTV video. The B movie aspect comes in to play with the lack of appreciable story and the overwhelming amount of time spent on the actors posing like they're in a Guess Jeans commercial in the middle of the desert. This film also seeks to leave logic and the plot lost in the dust as well. Kerr Smith plays "Sean," a twenty-something Los Angeles kid who signs on to take a car across the United States from L.A to Florida, so that he can catch his sister's marriage. Of course, something goes wrong on the way and Sean gets caught up in some vampire hunting somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

Now, the plot is pretty light to begin with, considering the motivation for Sean's character keeps popping up through the movie and it never seems sincere. Bloodsucking vampires are chasing him through the desert and he still cares about driving for another week to reach his sister's wedding. It's such a weak justification for Kerr's character. Perhaps it's that Kerr, as an actor, isn't able to pull the character off. His acting isn't pathetic, but it resembles more a lack of ability. Perhaps a few films from now, Kerr Smith will be more convincing as a feature film hero, but it looks as though he still has some growing to do.

One of the main failings of this film though, is that the vampire angle isn't scary. There is no tension between the characters created by anything other than the chase aspect. The good guys (and girl) are being chased by vampires and they need to get away. That's all that drives this film. Additionally, the actors don't have any chemistry together. The three of them who are running from the vampires, Kerr Smith, Brendan Fehr, and Izabella Miko, don't sport anything more interesting than the designer clothes they're always dressed in. And it's more than that. The film really only concerns itself on the looks of the characters, not even paying attention to what's going on in the plot.

To understand what the story in this film is like, take a look at Interview With a Vampire, the Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt flick. That film, as a film in the vampire sub-genre of horror, could be considered akin to regular beer. A big cold frosty one. The Forsaken is more like a glass of light beer that's been sitting out of the fridge for a few minutes too long. The story and suspense of the film is secondary to the labels on the characters' pieces of clothing. This fashion angle isn't a bad element, but it's the only thing holding the film together. Now, granted that the horror genre places many of its films in the B-movie pile, this film doesn't shoot for that either. The people are too well dressed for that.

Just a note on the ending, since this film is a fairly short one, about eighty odd minutes long, after the climax of the film, when everything's over and done with, one of the characters joins another character on a long stretch of road somewhere in the desert. From their short conversation, it sounds as if the movie really isn't over. They've just killed a bunch of vampires and this post-script is almost anti-climactic. As a viewer, it's easy to become alarmed that the movie might not really be over and that these two characters might be off for more adventures. But thankfully, these characters ride out into the sunset without the cameras following and the credits roll soon after.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.


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