The Lost Boys Movie Review

The Lost Boys is a movie I'm sure its participants want frozen in time. Back in 1987, Jason Patric had potential, Jami Gertz was an It Girl, and the Coreys were at the height of their powers. This is not the movie to remember that era. Aside from a good ending, you never want to reach for the covers or turn on all the lights.

Brothers Sam (Corey Haim) and Michael (Patric, with Scott Valentine's hair), along with their hippie divorcee mom (an oddly cast Dianne Wiest), move to Santa Carla, California, a small town home to a busy boardwalk featuring an amusement park, derelicts galore, and a slight vampire problem. Much to his regret, Michael befriends a group of vampires headed by Kiefer Sutherland, and slowly becomes one. Sam, full of good intentions and a logic fueled by comic books, comes to his aid, enlisting the help of two gung-ho amateur slayer siblings (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander) to kill the unknown head vampire and turn Michael back to his normal teenage self.

I love the concept and I love the unusual cast, but if there's one thing I've learned from director Joel Schumacher's botching the Batman series, it's that he will always opt for style points over creating an adrenaline rush. Great asset if you direct music videos, not so good if you're hired to direct a horror movie. Schumacher is no different here, bombarding us with atmospheric lighting and close-ups and bird's eye shots courtesy of ace cinematographer Michael Chapman.

Schumacher is not the only reason for the movie's ineffectiveness. The script resorts to comedy, romance, and action... and comes up dry each time. Therefore, you have no reason to believe any of the performances, especially when they sway from goofy (Barnard Hughes) to militant (Feldman). The Lost Boys plays like a popularity-desperate teenager wearing all of the hot mall fashions he can, hoping to find one that defines him. Eventually, he stops looking cool and begins to look desperate and needy.

Perhaps the biggest problem is in the acting. Let me say that I was part of that misguided generation that allowed Feldman and Haim to make movies. Watching The Lost Boys it's hard to imagine two more unlikable performers a nation of moviegoers anointed matinee idols. Haim, only a year after the winning Lucas, comes across as whiny and mugs his way through scenes. Feldman -- when he had long hair, but before his Michael Jackson tendencies flourished -- offers a glimpse into the obnoxious chatterbox he became on The Surreal Life. These are not people you want to root for. The rest of the actors suffer from miscasting (the robotic Gertz as a sexpot), not enough screen time (Sutherland), or bad writing (Hughes, especially). The Lost Boys is not a movie you want to put in a time capsule or even revisit, unless your name happens to be Corey.

Fanatics will find plenty of goodness on the new two-disc DVD to never get lost again. The main DVD has a commentary from Joel Schumacher, disc two features a number of featurettes and retrospective documentaries, plus a vignette entitled "The Return of Sam and the Frog Brothers: The 2 Coreys and Jamison Newlander" (with multiangle video commentary). This is worth watching if for no other reason than to see what Corey Haim looks like now. It's easily the scariest part of the film.


The Lost Boys Rating

" Grim "

Rating: R, 1987


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