The night…has an appetite!
Quick, name me three great vampire movies. Okay, name me just ONE great vampire movie. Hard pressed? I'm not surprised. While there are some fair-to-good vampire movies floating around video shelves (The Lost Boys and Dracula 2000 come to mind), there haven't been any really great vampire flicks lately. Bram Stoker's Dracula was mediocre at best. John Carpenter's Vampires was very, very disappointing. We could always say that Universal's Dracula starring Bela Lugosi is great, but I'm shooting to find something made after World War II. It was only a matter of time before The Gap sponsored a vampire movie, and with that statement, I offer up the Columbia TriStar release The Forsaken. Starring a bunch of good looking people who pout a lot and say "man" at the end of every sentence, The Forsaken takes a bite out of DVD.
Facts of the Case
While en route to his sister's wedding (and to drop off a convertible to a rich customer), Sean (Kerr Smith, Dawson's Creek) finds himself thrust into the fight of his life with Nick (Brendan Fehr, Final Destination), a lonely hitchhiker hunting the evil that is vampires! The two run into a pretty waif (Izabella Miko, Coyote Ugly) who has been infected by a so called "vampire virus." While calming her down by throwing her naked in a bathtub full of ice (the highlight of the film, I can assure you), Sean is bitten and also infected. All the while the group is on the run from a band of hemoglobin gobblers led by Kit (Jonathan Schaech), a vicious flesh eater that wants to kill, kill, and kill some more. Nick (also infected) gives us the scoop: kill the lead vampire and you break the virus' curse. Our heroes only have a limited amount of time before they're all turned into the living dead of the night. Let the hunt begin…
The Forsaken will appeal to anyone who watches UPN, the WB, or who likes to see really pretty people doing really nasty things. The Forsaken is like a cross between The Lost Boys, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and any road movie you've ever seen (sans those Crosby and Hope comedies). In fact, I think it's safe to say that this movie borrows from every other vampire movie I can think of. The Forsaken doesn't add anything new to the horror legend, but it does have Izabella Miko naked. I'm not sure as that's a contribution or not, but it was the best thing about this movie (and that part's over with by the end of the first 20 minutes).
The truth is that there just isn't anything original about this movie. All the characters talk relatively fast and with great knowledge of everything. They swear a lot, they make stupid mistakes ("Hey, I'll bet if we both go over to this house, the girl we left passed out in the car won't leave with all our…HEY!!!), and of course, they model very sharp, stylish clothes. The plot line is about as thin as Miko's waistline—the explanation for the vampires is about as exciting and original as an episode of Full House. Here, for your enjoyment, is a quick breakdown of how this movie goes:
• Good looking male teen shows up.
And so on, and so on. Not to be the spoiler of the party, but there's not a whole lot of other original ideas running around this movie. Characterization comes in the form of one actor telling about his history ("My Mom died, then my sister had to get a job, blah, blah, blah…"), and by the time the movie's half over we really don't care much for anyone. In fact, a few times I thought that maybe I was watching one big Calvin Kline ad. Although I must say that I enjoyed watching actress Phina Oruche's lips…they were as big as bed mattresses and looked twice as soft.
Am I being too hard on The Forsaken? Maybe, but the fact still remains that this movie contains nothing original—no original scares, effects or acting. Everyone from Kerr Smith to Simon Rex blandly recites dialogue like they were waiting for the next season of some "Generation X" TV show to start taping. Let us hope that the new season is right around the bend so we don't have to muddle through anymore mundane teen horror films.
The Forsaken is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Columbia has done a fantastic job on this transfer, making sure that all colors and black levels are bright and even. A small amount of edge enhancement was spotted in a few scenes, but overall this is an excellent looking print!
Audio is featured in Dolby Digital 5.1 (as well as Dolby Digital 2.0 in English and French) and is also very well done. The Forsaken is a film that makes wild use of directional sound, and there were countless sequences where all the speakers were engaged. Everything from cars to music to screams surround the viewer, and the bulk of the film displayed no hiss or distortion. Much like the video, the audio track is a top notch deal.
The Forsaken includes a few nice supplemental features, starting with a commentary track by director D.J. Cardone. I was somewhat uninterested in this track because I found the movie so bland, but fans should be pleased with his behind-the-scenes stories and tales about the cast and the production.
Also included on this disc are two "Making Of" featurettes, both being very short and not very engaging. The first is titled "Hardbody" and features some interviews with the cast and is mainly about the car the actors drive. The second is titled "Actor Profile: Brandon Fehr" and is about (surprise) Fehr and his up-and-coming rise to stardom. Ho-hum at best. Three deleted scenes are included that are relatively short, as well as some filmographies and theatrical trailers for The Forsaken, John Carpenter's Vampires, Hollow Man, Bram Stoker's Dracula, and John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars.
Vampire lovers and fans of teen flicks might enjoy this movie. I wasn't very thrilled with The Forsaken, but maybe I just wasn't in the mood to see freakishly good looking youths chew on each other's body parts. Columbia has done a commendable job on this disc, and for around 20 bucks it's a good buy if you want to see Ms. Miko in the buff. Va-va-va-voom!
The Forsaken easily lives up to its name! Columbia is free to go for nice work on this disc!
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Scales of Justice
• Commentary by Director J.S. Cardone
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