My favorite part of every modern vampire movie is the inevitable scene in which the vampire leader (if the bloodsuckers are the protagonists) or the vampire hunter (if they're the antagonists) explains to an uninitiated character that all the popular myths about vampires are completely inaccurate.
"Here's the truth" they always say, then go on to explain the vampire rules made up to fit the plot shortcomings of that particular movie.
In "The Forsaken" -- a glossy, gory, half-heartedly hip attempt to remake "The Lost Boys" for the "Coyote Ugly" generation -- the ghouls are little more than Gap models with faded tans. They don't have fangs, they don't have any supernatural powers to speak of, and they're too lazy even to kill with a good old-fashioned bite to the jugular. They generally just shoot their prey and quaff their fill of plasma from the bullet wound. What a bunch of slackers.
The WB-spawn pretty boy who has a run-in with these apathetic bloodsuckers is played by Kerr Smith ("Dawson's Creek"). He's driving cross-country via the most remote backroads of the Southwest (for no good reason) when he picks up a scruffy young hitchhiker (Brendan Fehr, "Roswell") with wild tales to tell about creatures of the night.
It seems, in the mythos pulled out of writer-director J.S. Cardone's butt for this movie, the initial stage of vampirism is a "telegenetic virus" that can be held off with a pharmaceutical cocktail (like HIV, get it?). Fehr is infected and he's out scouring the country in search of the head vampire (Johnathon Schaech, "That Thing You Do!") because if "we kill the source, we kill the strain."
Smith becomes his unwilling ally when he's accidentally bitten by a beautiful, spaced-out girl (Izabella Miko, "Coyote Ugly") that Fehr is trying to save from the same fate.
Puked-up blood, inexplicable explosions and naked breasts are pretty much all "The Forsaken" has to offer, although there are rare and brief moments in which Cardone stops his machine-gun editing and shows a smidgen of imagination.
The film opens with an effectively unsettling shot of a naked Miko, stunned with fright, washing blood off her body while flashbacks of a vampire massacre dance in her head. Had the director left out the flashbacks -- which are so slapdash it's hard work figuring out what you're seeing -- this scene could have been almost neo-Hitchcockian. Another split second of creativity is a comedic one: Smith stops at a service station in vampire country where the walls are absolutely plastered with missing persons fliers.
But far more frequent are incidents of plot padding (playing chicken with the vampires on a dark desert road), requisite scenery-chewing by the actors playing vampires, and glaring loose ends. My favorite: The girl is on the cover of the local newspaper as being wanted in connection with the aforementioned massacre, but she's able to check in and out of a hospital at the end of the movie without anyone recognizing her (or her name) and calling the police.
Run time: 90 mins
In Theaters: Friday 27th April 2001
Box Office USA: $6.3M
Distributed by: Screen Gems
Production compaines: Sony Pictures Entertainment, Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, Egmont Film, Screen Gems
Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 7%
Fresh: 4 Rotten: 50
IMDB: 5.3 / 10
Director: J.S Cardone
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