Let me tell you about a little movie called "The Fangleys." It was a low budget (about $13,000) horror movie from Texas that dealt with supernatural and backwoods horror cliches. It was released by The Asylum (before they were the mockbuster kings they are today) and it was pretty much awful on all accounts. Why am I mentioning all of this? Because the director of that movie has done two other movies, one in which was released by Lionsgate and is called "After Sundown."
The movie starts in 1883, in which Molly Porter (Natalie Jones) and her husband Thomas Jenkins, and her infant child became vampires. Molly ends up having to put a stake in the long toothed tot, and all three are buried by the townspeople. Cut to 2006 in which some idiots remove the wooden stakes, and the vampire couple are back, looking for their child, which is in the possession of Shannon (Susanna Gibb) and Mikey (Reese Rios.) Also, they can turn people into zombies. How and why vampires would turn people into zombies and not you know, vampires is beyond me, but hey, I didn't write this.
I will give "After Sundown" this much: it's an improvement over "The Fangleys." Here, the acting is better and more convincing-not great mind you, but more believable nonetheless. It's also done with a bigger budget, and has a lot more ambition as far as story and execution is concerned. Hell, the direction is even a little better (the image of the dead walking in a frog drenched graveyard actually achieve a Gothic ambiance), and the effects have improved slightly.
And that's were all that good will ends. Sure, it's better than "The Fangleys", but it's still pretty bad nonetheless. For one thing, the script is all over the place, usually resembling a poor man's version of "From Dusk Till Dawn" and every Straight to DVD zombie movie you've seen with a bit of period piece action and even some tragic romance. Fine and all, except the budget can't capture all of that ambition the movie has. As a review on Bloody Disgusting says, there's a reason why this kind of low budget horror movies tend to avoid period pieces. Not once in this movie is any of the old west footage convincing. Then there's the tone of the movie, which clashes everywhere. At one moment, the movie wants to be a tongue in cheek horror romp, and then the next it wants to be a revisionist take on the vampire. The two just don't mix, though those behind it sure do try.
It's kind of a shame too, because again, its an improvement over the directors prior effort, and shows at least a little promise. It's just that in the end, there's just too many restraints holding it back from what it could have been. Give them a "A" for effort, but a "D" for execution.