The Forsaken (2001)
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Of course the film is not perfect. It is littered with sudden outbursts of loud, obnoxious songs obviously placed to market the soundtrack album. Which is a shame, because the score, when heard, is really rather good. Schaech is under-used, and the gimmick editing employed to signify his murderous rampaging is confusing and redundant. The film will not be to everyone's taste. Too off-the-beaten-track for mainstream audiences and not enough splatter for the gore-hounds, the film is left stuck somewhere in between. The film also contains a number of misjudged scenes that border on being needlessly nasty and vile. The killing of a state trooper is particularly grim. But these are minor gripes.
The Forsaken is a good film that, I suspect, will be loved or loathed by anyone who takes the time to watch it. I loved it.
WHY I SAW IT: I'm too old for this film, but the young ladies in my local "Roswell" fan club wanted to see Brenden Fehr ("Roswell", "Final Destination") and Kerr Smith ("Dawson's Creek", "Final Destination"). WB fans, watch for the cameo by Sara Downing ("Courtney Banks" on "Roswell" and star of the upcoming TV series "Dead Last").
THE STORY: Ambitious, dutiful Sean is paid to drive a Mercedes sports car from L.A. to Miami. In this road movie, he encounters quirky characters in the deserts, canyons and plains of the Southwest. The pace picks up when he meets cynical slacker Nick and they rescue traumatized beauty Megan. The reluctant alliance of these mismatched people anchors the story as events go from disturbing to terrifying.
IDEA CONTENT: None of the common Hollywood refusal to recognize evil as writer/director J.S.Cardone pits ordinary guys against vampires who once were human cowards who "saved their lives" by becoming demons. Even more loathsome are the human criminals who serve the vampires and disguise their crimes as those of serial killers. News-junkies will be reminded of American and Russian politicians who pose as friends of the common people. With their organized-crime partners, they trash the economy and society while putting the blame on "selfish consumers" and "greedy businessmen". Those who know mythology will recognize the classic sequence of Ominous Foreshadowing, Leaving Home, Wilderness Journey, Crisis of Decision, the Mighty Action, and Personal Transformation.
ESTHETICS: Slightly-flawed, down-to-earth script skillfully alternates horror with humor, terror with sexiness. Well-chosen music. Several beautiful actresses.
DIRECTION: Downplays charisma in favor of realistic performances from well-cast actors.
EDITING: Muffled sound in one scene. Well-paced, well-cut action. The night chase by two carloads of vampires stands out.
WHY IT'S RATED "R": Four-letter words. Topless and nude starlets. Merciless bloody violence, not graphic enough for the splatterfans.
MY VOTE: For this subgenre and intended audience, 8 on a scale of 10.
Sean is driving cross country to his sister's wedding when he picks up Nick, a hitchhiker who happens to be a vampire hunter hunting a group of vampires led by Kit, one of the Forsaken. The Forsaken are a group of French Knights that during the First Crusade made a pact with the demon Abbadon to live forever. Nick was bitten by a vampire but thanks to a drug cocktail the vampire virus is kept at bay. Nick is hunting this particular Forsaken: he believes him to be the one that his strain of the vampire virus is descended from and that if he kills him he will not eventually turn into a vampire. At first Sean is less than willing to indulge his new acquaintance, but then they find Megan, a girl Sean finds he is attracted to, bitten and left for dead by the vampires. Nick also proves he is telling the truth by killing a vampire, Teddy, by exposure to sunlight. When Sean is infected with the vampire virus, their only hope is to kill the vampire leader before it is too late.
The Forsaken is just alright movie, the reason I say that it didn't totally waste my time is because it did have a couple good scenes here and there. I thought that the scene where the guys and the girl go to the hotel room to find out if the girl was bitten by a vampire and get some sleep, then they see the vampires go into the room across from them was pretty intense. The vampires of the movie were pretty decent as villains, but Simon Rex as this sort of updated retarded Reinfield, it's like if Reinfield and Forrest Gump had a child, it'd be Simon Rex and he just didn't get enough character development for us to care at all about him. There are still things that need to be fixed with the script, but I wouldn't say this is a horrible movie, I would just say that you shouldn't go out of your way to see it.
The only things those two films have in common is that they're both aimed for a teen audience, both seem to have a 'token female', and both are rife with homoerotic subtext.
This film is, without a doubt, a 'B' movie. It is most definitely not the best vampire film I've ever seen, and it's not even the best 'B' vampire film I've seen. But if you go into it expecting a 'B' movie, you'll enjoy it. It's even better if you make fun of it a little, ala Mystery Science Theater 3000.
It wasn't a film I would buy, or even rent again. But as something to throw in on a cold, rainy night when I had nothing better to do? Enjoyable.
That and the slashyness of it made my day.
Well casted horror film offers realistic performances, nice atmosphere, good editing, well chosen soundtrack, some interesting twists to vampire folklore, and one of the sexiest casts to appear in a horror film in quite some time.
Rated R; Graphic Violence, Nudity, Profanity, and Sexual Situations.