"The Retard or the Poser?" ~ Vampires in the Desert
Brian E. Erland | Brea, CA - USA | 07/21/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Be forewarned those who may be driving in the desert at night on some dark, deserted piece of highway. Stop for hitchhikers at your own risk. Also avoid the urge of trying to be too helpful to fellow motorist stranded along the way. Remember things are not always what they appear to be.
This was quite a well-constructed, coherent storyline from beginning to end. You are never left in the dark with this plot. Everything is explained at the appropriate time, the history of this particular vampire sect, how they happened to show up in Midwest America, how the vampire virius works in the body, its telepathic properties and what must be done to cure yourself from the curse of "The Forsaken." All this infomation was nicely worked into the script in such a way as not to bog down the viewer with too much substance, hence detracting from what the average movie fan is looking for, gore and violence.
A brief comment for any young girls who may get struck watching this with a boyfriend. While you may not enjoy the horror elements in the movie you might enjoy the male members of the cast which includes; Brendan Fehr (Roswell), Kerr Smith (Dawson's Creek, Final Destination) and Johnathon Schaech (That Thing You Do) as the head vampire.
Brendan Fehr was terrific as the young, wise beyond his years vampire hunter roaming the highways and byways in search of the vampire that infected him with the virius. My favorite scene in the movie is when Nick (Brendan Fehr) and Sean (Kerr Smith) stop at a roadside diner for a bite to eat. A two-way conversation quickly turns into a monologue when Nick begins to compare the aspirations and hopes of his generation with those of the last. It's not only hilarious, but absolutely true. Without giving away too much of the ending, I'll just say a perfect opening was provided for a sequel. While I'm not generally a fan of sequels, I would've liked to see Brendan Fehr reprise his role of vampire hunter at least one more time.
Simply the most enjoyable vampire film since "The Lost Boys.""
Once Again, Blame The French
K. Fontenot | The Bayou State | 12/23/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"In a film starring Kerr Smith, Brendan Fehr, and a host of other actors and actresses considered eye-candy, you'd think this would be another teen/vampire/T&A rompfest. Well, there are vampires and definitely some T&A, but the "teen" element is nowhere to be found. Instead, you have a decent story about a small band of bloodsuckers headed up by one of the original badboys of immortality who is being hunted by one of his victims.
The victim, played by Brendan Fehr, thinks that the vampire Kit is the source of the virus he acquired through another vampire. According to legend, if you kill the source before you vamp out, you will be cured of what ails you. Kerr Smith plays Sean, a guy who winds up in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is thrust into the hunt when he assists Fehr's character, Nick. They find a young woman(Izabella Miko of "Coyote Ugly") who is a recent victim of Kit, and they use her as a homing beacon to draw Kit to holy ground, which is the only place that he can be killed.
Kit is played with sinister perfection by Johnathan Schaech. Schaech and his little group of vampires, which includes his lover, another female vampire, and a day driver, decide to hunt the hunters and finish them off. What follows is a standard road movie/car chase sequence that is full of explosions, nudity, gore, and a big finale.
Although it doesn't hold up well to many other vampire flicks, "The Forsaken" is worth a watch. There is plenty of T&A, but not so much that you think you're watching some late night fluff on Showtime. The violence is handled pretty good as well, though some may be turned off by the way the vampires feast. They can get pretty violent when they are feeding. If you like your vampires along the line of "Lestat," you probably won't like this movie. If "Blade" is more to your liking, you might enjoy this movie more, although there are no martial arts-induced [...] whippings. As a matter of fact, this movie reminded me a lot of "The Wraith," due to the fact that there are plenty of desert car chases.
Oh, and by the way, the Forsaken is Kit, who just happens to be one of the original eight French vampires that started all of this vampire mess in the first place. Bram Stoker would role over in his grave."
Intense, Violent, and Hilarious
Charles Harrington | Calif, USA | 05/06/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am a big fan of the Vampire film genre and thsi was the best I've seen in a long time. I was worried it was gonna be a boring undead teeny bopper flick but I was very impressed. I loved the slacker vampire hunter as it was a great change from the usual hard-edge vengeance hunter (Vampires), or the morose brooding quiet type (Vampire Hunter D). He was actaully believable in the role which was something Corey Feldman never pulled off (Lost Boys). The feeding scenes were great, very animalistic, and intense. As a matter of fact the whole movie stayed pretty intense throughout. Loved the Vampire henchmen characters, they really connected and contrasted well with their master. The only thing I didn't like about this one was the unending, gratuitous nudity (ok five scenes isn't exactly unending). I have no problem with nudity in films and sexuality is defniatley a must in a vampire movie but it kinda felt like hey you there look at these... ok lets go back to the movie. All fans of the vampire genre (you know who you are) should see this one."
"We kill the source of origin, and we kill the strain."
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 10/24/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Written and directed by J.S. Cardone (Shadowzone, A Climate for Killing), The Forsaken (2001) stars Kerr Smith (Final Destination, "Dawson's Creek", "Charmed"), Brendan Fehr (Final Destination, "Roswell"), and Johnathon Schaech (Sol Goode, Road House 2: Last Call). Also appearing is Izabella Miko (Coyote Ugly), Phina Oruche ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer"), Simon Rex (Scary Movie 3), Alexis Thorpe ("Days of Our Lives"), and the late Carrie Snodgress (Pale Rider, Wild Things), in one of her last, feature films.
Kerr Smith plays Sean, a California resident in need of funds so that he may travel to Miami to witness his sister's wedding. Lucky for Sean he's landed a gig driving a cherry $50,000 Mercedes to Florida, providing him not only with transportation, but a little dough to boot. After a desert driving montage, Sean has some car trouble, is forced to stop off at a podunk town, and eventually ends up picking up a greasy hitch-hiker named Nick (Fehr), who looks like he's trying to grow a beard, but not very successfully as it's coming in all uneven and such...anyway, after a slight run in with some yahoos in a Dodge Charger, Sean and Nick end up picking up a spooky, strung out blonde named Megan (Miko), who doesn't actually say anything until like an hour and ten minutes into the film. Turns out Megan's stony stupor is caused not by drugs, but by the fact she's been bitten by a vampire...and not just any vampire but an original vampire (played by Schaech), one being hunted by Nick, who's also been bitten and is using drugs to counteract the effects until he can track and eventually kill the source of the infection, freeing himself of the curse. By the way, in the process of helping the girl, Sean also gets bit, so now he gets wrapped up in all the rigmarole. Got all that? Good...from here there's lots of scenes of Sean, Nick, and Megan in the car being chased by the vampire goons, and various flashbacks, including one detailing how Megan ended up the way she did. Um, okay, so why do the vampires travel around in a late model Dodge Charger? The car looks cool, I've give you that, but the vampires are forced into the trunk during the day (that is if they happen to be on the road) as their human sycophant drives them around. Why not get an RV and black out the various windows? Maybe vampires enjoy being stuffed into the trunk of a muscle car and being driven around in the Arizona sun, but I sure wouldn't. Anyway, Sean and Nick are now forced to use Megan to lure the vampires into a trap, one where they hope to kill the main bloodsucker in an effort to free themselves of the sickness...
While The Forsaken, filmed in Arizona, wasn't necessarily a bad movie, it wasn't all that great, either. I guess the main issue I had with the film was that it seemed to borrow too liberally from other films within the genre, specifically Blade (1998), with the whole taking drugs to counteract the effects of the vampire's bite, and Near Dark (1987), and it's southwestern theme (then again, if you haven't seen those two movies, most everything here will probably seem original). Now it's not unusual for films to take from other films, but here it seemed so obvious, resulting in The Forsaken not really offering up anything new within the vampire mythos. By the end of the film I didn't really take anything away from the experience of having seen it, so I began thinking of how the hour an a half watching the film could have been better spent. The film is put together fairly well as the action, along with the gore, is spread evenly throughout, but there were times when the pacing dragged a bit. Female fans, particularly those who watch shows on the WB, will probably enjoy the fact the film spends a lot of time with the two hunky male leads. Male fans are thrown a bone as Izabella Miko does appear in various states of undress, including a few topless scenes. I did find it odd the fact she appears early on in the film but then doesn't speak one line of dialog until about forty-five minutes later. Johnathon Schaech made a pretty good vampire, but I had a hard time buying off on the hokum he was originally a knight of the crusades as he really didn't project the sense he was some 800 year old undead dude wandering the Earth all these years, surviving solely on his own intelligence (at some point in the movie we're fed a load about how the vampire strain originated during the crusades, and eight knights were initially infected with the disease). Something else, given what I've seen in movies, I'd advise strongly against ever letting anyone drive your car across the country as chances are, it's going to be seriously trashed in the process. As far as the performances, they weren't all that strong. None of the female characters had much in the way of roles, and the male leads seemed hardly capable in carrying the film. Schaech makes a good showing, hamming it up at times, providing at least something of interest. The story felt kind of limp and predictable, something director Cardone was probably aware of given how he tried to spice things up with flashy visuals and lots and lots of quick cut sequences. As far as the gore there was a decent amount of blood, along with a couple of entertaining effects including one where someone gets their melon popped with a shotgun...woo wee! Thet head shore `nuff exploded good! All in all there's really nothing new here, but if you really feel the need to see this film, you'd probably be better off renting it, as it's not one that lends itself to repeated viewings. There are some good tunes included, if you're a fan of bands like Eve 6, Nickelback, Coal Chamber, Soulfly, and Uncle Kracker...
The picture, available in both widescreen anamorphic (1.85:1) and fullscreen (1.33:1), comes across well, and the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio comes through clearly. As far as extras, there are subtitles in English, French, Chinese, Korean, and Thai, a director's commentary track, three deleted scenes, two featurettes, a theatrical trailer, and trailers for other films including Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992), John Carpenter's Vampires (1998), Hollow Man (2000), and John Carpenter's Ghost of Mars (2001).
Two WB stars take on another different breed of vampire
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 03/07/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"At the beginning of "The Forsaken" we are treated to a scene in which a naked young woman in a shower covered in blood cleans off one of her breasts. This really has nothing to do with this 2001 film beyond the symbolism of uniting blood and sex (if you think about it, the film literally makes a clean breast of it). Before we get to the actually plot of this film what we have as the chief selling point are a pair of young studs from the WB network at the top of the credits, namely Kerr Smith from "Dawson's Creek" and Brendan Fehr from "Roswell." Smith is Sean, who edits trailers in Hollywood and is now driving somebody else's Mercedes convertible across the country to attend his sister's wedding. Fehr is Nick, who seems to be just some slacker bumming a ride but is in reality much, much more. We just do not figure out what until they encounter Megan (Izabella Miko), who is acting weird at a bus stop. Not only is she the blonde from the beginning of the film, but it turns out that she has been bitten by a vampire. Nick knows this because a year ago he was bitten by the same vampire, but he has a magic drug cocktail that has stopped him from making the change. Now the guys have to save Megan from the same fate of living death. Anne Rice, P. N. Elrod, Laurell K. Hamilton and Joss Whedon have all dealt in different ways with making the vampire mythos work in more modern terms. J.S. Cardone, writer and director of "The Forsaken," tries to do the same thing but the result is something of a mess. The vampires in this movie are basically something akin to the Manson Gang, which is easy enough to grasp, but it is the new and improve rules on how you avoid turning into a vampire that really requires copious note taking, although that becomes rather pointless once we discover that one of the ways to stem the transformation is to pour buckets of ice on a half naked woman in a bathtub. The goal is ultimately to kill Kit (Jonathan Schaech), the leader of the vampire pack, because that will break the cycle (sort of convenient, huh?). But before that can happen there is plenty of blood-letting and you know that beautiful Mercedes is going to take a pounding.At least "The Forsaken" takes itself seriously, although there are times where that works to the disadvantage of the film. Kerr is passable enough in the role of the basically good guy to whom all sorts of weird things are suddenly happening, but Fehr just does not have the presence to make his role and the rest of the movie works (every time I look I him I keep thinking he should be playing the young Fox Muldar on an "X-Files" flashback). The film is bloody and gory for those who like such things, although none of it is particularly memorable. The problem is that I perked up at the idea of some new twists on the idea of the vampire, but that just called attention to the most problematic elements of the film. The really depressing part is that this is the best film I have seen this week."