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Becky Ann Baker,
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Ben Mears, a writer returns to the small Maine town of Jerusalem's Lot (also known as Salem's Lot), where he spent the first few years of his life, to write a book. Little does he or the townfolk realize that a couple of other new residents are coming...Straker, an antiques dealer, and his partner and master Barlow, a ancient and malevolent vampire bent on making Salem's Lot his new home. Written by
What if they filmed a movie and nobody knew how to act?
Rob Lowe has all the intensity of a bassett hound. Moping through the movie with sad puppy-dog eyes, he slowly comes to the realization that there are, gulp, vampires in Salem's Lot. The acting in this movie is horrible, it's as though the director told the actors to ad-lib everything, and to do it in a snarky California accent and roll their eyes all the time. This is Maine? I don't think so, especially since it was filmed in Melbourne.
There are basically three special effects in the entire four-hour movie, and not even good effects at that. Even Barlow's death was disappointing. Look, this is 2004, you fx guys have access to the most sophisticated equipment since the dawn of movie-making, and the only thing you can come up with is the vampire gently disappearing into the ceiling in a puff of smoke? What a rip.
Who wrote the screenplay? "Did you bring a stake"? One of the characters actually asks that, with all the sincerity that an unknown actor can muster. Only James Cromwell manages to elevate himself above the mess, gamely uttering his lines in his rough but convincing voice.
The 1979 version is far and away much scarier than this remake. It is more atmospheric and concentrates on the story and the plot, as well as building the characters. Barlow is scary, especially in the kitchen scene. In the remake, Barlow isn't scary at all, you don't believe for one moment that he's a vampire; he just looks like some angry drifter. In the original, James Mason could make your flesh crawl by raising an eyebrow, but Donald Sutherland looks like a high-school math teacher on a bender. I'm convinced the director ordered Sutherland to eat nine boxes of krispy kremes before filming.
This movie is a huge disappointment.
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