Judge Paul Pritchard wishes these boys had stayed lost.
"Ooh, girl, I said, ooh. Whatever happened to my friend, Corey Haim"—"Whatever Happened to Corey Haim"—The Thrills
"Your sister's a suck monkey."
Facts of the Case
Following their parents' death, siblings Chris (Tad Hilgenbrick) and Nicole Emerson (Autumn Reeser) move to Luna Bay to stay with their aunt. A former surfer, Chris soon falls in with Shane Powers (Angus Sutherland), a former pro surfer, who invites Chris and Nicole to a party he is throwing. Unbeknown to Chris, Shane's surfer gang is a tribe of vampires, and they have Chris and Nicole in their sights.
While at the party Nicole is seduced by Shane, who tricks her into drinking his blood, leaving her teetering on the brink of becoming a full-fledged vampire. Quickly enlisting the help of "surfboard shaper and vampire hunter" Edgar Frog (Corey Feldman); Chris must destroy Shane before his sister makes her first kill, which would complete her transformation, to save her from a life of eternal damnation as a creature of the night.
Though I'm not yet prepared to declare the death of originality in Hollywood, I'm at least starting to think that, just maybe, it's time the powers that be sat down and took stock of the film industry as a whole. Having recently borne witness to a needless, and quite awful, sequel to '80s hit War Games, I was hoping against hope that Lost Boys: The Tribe would at least be able to justify its existence. It took considerably less than the films 94 minute running time to realize that, like War Games: The Dead Code before it, this is just another exercise in cashing in on '80s nostalgia.
Although I wouldn't call the original The Lost Boys a classic, it is a fun ride. At the very least, it represents a style of filmmaking the '80s seemed to do very well. A hedonistic rush of pure adrenaline that mixed comedy and horror to good effect, the film succeeded, in spite of its slightness, due to a whole heap of cool and a vibrant cast.
Fast-forward twenty-one years, and any dynamism has been sucked dry from the franchise, leaving us with a slowly rotting corpse of a movie that is probably best avoided by die-hard Lost Boys fans for fear that this abomination may have an adverse affect on their love of the original.
Following the laziest of all sequel formulas, Lost Boys: The Tribe is really nothing more than a retread of the original, and far superior, The Lost Boys. In a poor attempt at making it all seem fresh, this new band of vampires is depicted as a group of adrenaline junkies who, when they're not surfing or playing Gears of War, are literally ripping each others guts out and capturing it on video camera, Dirty Sanchez style, to upload onto YouTube. See, they play on their Xbox, they surf, they mention YouTube a bunch of times; they're clearly down with the kids. In other words, they're like a marketing man's idea of what today's youth want and, as such, are totally lacking credibility.
Working from a screenplay written by Hans Rodionoff (Man-Thing), director P.J. Pesce (From Dusk Till Dawn 3) really does the bare minimum required to adapt the story from the page to the screen. Showing no real flair and lacking any distinguishing touches, Pesce's direction is devoid of any creativity, leaving the film quite unremarkable both visually and structurally.
One area where Lost Boys: The Tribe surpasses its predecessor is in the gore department. From disembowelments to decapitations, via geysers of blood, the effects, which include some notable makeup work, are excellent throughout, perhaps offering the one genuinely impressive part of this whole production.
With the exception of an all-too-short cameo by Tom Savini, the cast is uniformly dreadful. Casting Angus Sutherland (half-brother of Keifer, star of the original The Lost Boys) reeks of desperation on the filmmakers' part. Delivering his lines in a flat, monotonous drone and lacking any charisma, the younger Sutherland is just the tip of the iceberg. Tad Hilgenbrink has yet to master his craft enough to warrant his star billing, while the rest of the cast, bar one major exception I shall get to momentarily, are just either too shocking or forgettable to be worthy of discussion. Reprising his role as Edgar Frog from the original movie is Corey Feldman (The Goonies), whose performance is at once perhaps the most worthy of criticism and also the single most redeeming feature of the movie. He employs a snarl that sits somewhere between Christian Bale's Batman and Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry while simultaneously taking a leaf from Roger Moore's (Octopussy) handbook and letting his eyebrows do all the acting. It's difficult to ascertain whether Feldman is playing the role straight or whether his performance is some in-joke. Either way, it's impossible not to watch, jaw agape, whenever he's on screen, while also feeling a twinge of sadness for the guy.
Oh, and for those wondering what happened to Corey Haim, stick around when the end credits roll. Try not to laugh, though, people. He's doing his best, okay?
The disc reviewed contained the "uncut" version of Lost Boys: The Tribe, with both a widescreen and full-frame version on the DVD. The disc's transfer is solid, with a relatively clear image even during darker scenes. Warner Bros. has, understandably, not gone out of their way to fill the disc with extras. Two featurettes, one of which contains a cringe-worthy performance from Corey Feldman, who seems to be unsure of whether to stay "in character" or not as he discusses his tools of the trade, are both too short and dull to spend even a few minutes on. Also included are two alternative endings that hint at a possible sequel, while simultaneously offering up more Haim for your money. Good thing? Bad thing? That's for you to decide.
Lost Boys: The Tribe lays all its cards on the table from the start, removing any hope of a redeeming twist lying in wait. There were rumors of other scripts in development for a Lost Boys sequel; whether they would have been any better than Lost Boys: The Tribe, we'll probably never know, but they sure as hell couldn't be any worse.
Do you smell that? It smells like death and fungus. It's Lost Boys: The Tribe. Guilty.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
• Lost Boys: The Tribe: Action Junkies
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