Monday, July 18, 2011

God of Vampires (2010)

Even though the product doesn't always (okay, usually) come up to snuff, I have to tip my hat to independent distributors like Tempe and (in this case) Midnight Releasing, who put out truly independent horror films that cost pennies to make. Movies like this aren't just a part of the backbone of horror. They are a part of the backbone of movies-something made without major studio input for nothing by people who want to do nothing but make movies, or a movie. That's exactly what "God of Vampies", which is the full length directorial debut from make-up effects man Rob Fitz, is-a film that took nine years to complete and release, and took literal blood, sweat and tears to get done.

The plot itself is pretty basic: Frank Ng (Dharma Lam) is an assassin whose been sent to kill Chinese crime Lord Vincent Chau (Shy Theerakulstit). When he's done, it turns out Frankie can't say "relax", as it turns out that said crime lord is a vampire from Chinese folklore called a Kiang-Shi, whose going to make Frank's life a nightmare by turning and killing everyone that comes into his path-including those that Frank loves. So, with the help of a man known as Uncle Ping (Ben Wang) and a group of unlikely vampire slayers, Frank sets out to put a stop to Vincent and his vampire army once and for all.

Take "From Dusk Til Dawn", mix it with an 80's B-Movie, add a huge dose of 80's/early 90's Hong Kong action and horror, and make it for about $26,000, and this is what you get. When it comes to micro-budget horror, you have to be careful. Sure, you'll occasionally fine something that lives up to the hype ("Bad Taste" for example), but usually, you get something that feels more like it should be playing on public access television. That out of the way, "God of Vampires" is one of the better recent no-budget horror movies I've seen.

I'd go on about "blah blah blah enthusiasm", but instead, I'll just put it like this: unlike other movies of this type, this actually feels like a movie, and it's kinda fun. You can tell that Fitz and co. did all they could to make this feel at least semi-professional, so it's refreshing to see something like this that doesn't feel like some kids playing in their backyard. That's largely due to the fact that they got more than ten or twenty people in this movie, and that it takes place in more than five locations. Meanwhile, the direction and editing are pretty good, the gore and make-up effects are phenomenal for this kind of movie (not to mention plentiful), and the fight choreography is mostly top notch. Best of all, as I said, this is kinda fun, and usually feels like the kind of movie a lot of people have been trying to make with no-budget, only succeeding.

Well, not completely succeeding. While it does run into the usual flaws movies of this nature run into (amateur performances, pacing issues), Two that are very noticeable are the poor lighting and inadequate sound mix. I know, this was made for chump change, but it wouldn't hurt to at least try to afford better lighting, as I occasionally had trouble making out what was going on. There's also times in which the movie feels like it's trying too hard to be cool for it's own good, particularly when it comes to one liners. Sure, a few are pretty good ("Who are you?" "The welcoming comity"), but then we get lines like "I know drunken-style, bitch!", which just made me groan.

So, is "God of Vampires" worth watching? It depends. If you aren't used to unpolished looking horror made on a miniscule budget, then no. If however, you want one of these types of films that's better than usual, then it's a given.

Rating: 6.5/10

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