“It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time” is a series that focuses on movies that either have a bad critical reputation, bombed in the box office or serve as guilty pleasures. It will largely focus on genre movies, though I will venture outside of that area
A while back, I remember reading about a gay themed vampire film called Eulogy For a Vampire, which on paper read like the gay version of a Jean Rollin vampire movie, but in actuality is apparently gay soft core porn masquerading as an art house horror film (so in short: a gay version of a Jean Rollin vampire movie). Why am I mentioning this? Because whilst I’ve never seen it, it might be the only vampire movie that’s more homoerotic than 2001’s “The Forsaken.”
“The Forsaken” was one of several post-“Scream” horror movies that mainly catered to teens, but lacked much of what made that movie a classic. It was the brainchild of J.S. Cardone, a veteran of plenty of B-Movies, who went on to write awful remakes of “The Stepfather” and “Prom Night.” In his mind, this would be like “The Lost Boys” or Kathryn Bigelow’s classic vampire film, “Near Dark,” for the new millennium, only with more car chases, explosions, and hot women. Hell, you could be fooled into thinking that with the opening: which a naked woman (Izabella Miko) tries to wash blood off of her body in the shower. As the film goes on, it becomes increasingly clear that it’s about two guys (Kerr Smith and Brendan Fehr) who seem to be more than a little into each other instead.
Fehr plays Sean, a film editor for trashy B-Movies (the place he works at is littered with posters for Troma movies) whom is driving cross country for his sister’s wedding. Along the way, he picks up hitchhiker Nick (Fehr), who at first seems to be nothing but trouble. They end up running into Megan (Miko), whom seems to have something wrong with her. By that, I mean she has a virus running through her veins – and what do ya know, Nick does too. You see, Nick and Megan were bitten by a group of vampires known as “The Forsaken,” and Nicky is actually a vampire hunter out to settle a score.
What are “The Forsaken”? They were a group of French Knights in the First Crusade who made a deal with the demon Abaddon to live forever. Only four remain. The one Nick is hunting is Kit (Jonathon Schaech), who leads two other rag tag vampires (
Phina Oruche and Alexis Thorpe) and their token human (Simon Rex) that drives them around and cleans up their messes. The virus they carry slowly turns the host into a vampire, and it can be slowed down for the time being with drug cocktails (the virus seems to be something of a metaphor for AIDS.) Oh, and in the process, Megan bites Sean, so he too must put an end to this.
Before I get into whether or not this is a good or bad movie, it’s time to let the cat out of the closet… um, I mean bag. It’s incredibly obvious throughout the movie (though those starring in it and Cardone himself deny it) that Sean and Nick are in love with one another. They constantly hang around each other, grow more and more fond of one another, and in the end, Sean decides to ride with Nick instead of being with Megan. Even when the movie tries to set up Megan and Sean as a potential item, it rings false. He always seems uncomfortable around her, and only seems really happy when he’s around Sean. So as you can see, these two should be a couple, but the movie doesn’t have the guts to admit it, even when it’s clear to the point of shouting it out on the top of a mountain. Sean even spends three months looking for the guy.
So with all that out of the way, is the movie good? Unfortunately, no. There’s potential for a fun little B-Movie, but Cardone’s script lacks anything resembling wit or intelligence. Unlike a guilty pleasure like “Dracula 2000,” the whole affair is humorless and largely drab, with awful dialogue (the worst being a monologue from Nick in which he rants about the then current generation) and mostly bad performances (only Miko and a last minute casting of Carrie Snodgrass ring true). It’s also poorly directed, with fast cuts and edits whenever someone is killed or a moment of gore shows up. In that respect, Cardone seems almost afraid to go all out as far as horror movie thrills are concerned. Sure, there’s boobs and graphic violence, but it’s all filmed in such a blah manner that it becomes difficult to care about any of it.
Another thing that’s worthy of mention is the fact that little if any of this movie has aged all that well. Hell, it probably felt dated three years after it came out. Most of the cast are wearing denim jackets, sport bad facial hair and hair styles, and talk in slang that was popular in that pre-9/11 world of 1999-2001. The soundtrack feels even more dated, with the likes of Nickleback, Uncle Cracker, and interchangeable Nu Metal popping up. It’s all a product of a time in which pop culture was largely not all that fun, and it really shows.
To close this out, I will make a little confession: when I first saw this when it was in theaters, I loved it. I thought it was one of the best vampire movies in ages. Granted, this was before I got to watch “Near Dark,” George Romero’s “Martin,” or the countless amount of vampire films put out by Hammer, so I have that for an excuse. 12 years later, there’s nothing about “The Forsaken” that’s particularly memorable other than the fact that it’s an in-denial coming out tale that just happens to have vampires.
Subtle imagery, huh?
Budget: $5 Million
Box Office Total: $6.3 Million
Next Time: Sharon Stone and Joe Eszterhaus reunite for “Sliver”