Directed by Mark Morris
Starring Alan Harding, Gareth Lawrence, Rachel Pooley
Indie Film Review by Sarah Smeaton
Vampire Resurrection has all the workings to be a great vampire horror but falling into many cliché traps, it unfortunately fails to deliver on several crucial elements. Having said that, there are some fantastic and beautiful moments of true horror here. Several scenes pay homage to the greats of the horror genre. The bathroom scene, for example, where Nathan (Alan Harding) is just discovering his transformation into vampire, has a real classic horror feel to it, with the music and camera work no doubt giving a little bow to Hitchcock in style. The eerie panning out of the camera combined with music that gradually becomes uncomfortably high pitched, followed by abrupt silence and a cut to the next scene is really powerful in design. It’s moments like this that it’s clear director, Mark Morris, has given a lot of time to the layout of this indie film. It would have been great to have seen more of this. The moments where we have deep and dark horror are truly gripping and would have been terrifying had this theme and feeling been kept up throughout the duration.
What we have here is a film that doesn’t seem to know what it is. There are elements of comedy throughout, but they come at times that are unexpected and feel alien to the plot. The special effects are perhaps a little ambitious for budget and weren’t particularly necessary for plot development. Having vampires burst into flames, which were clearly added post-production, reduced the believability from the word go. The makeup of the vampires didn’t appear consistent either. Some vampires were covered in white foundation, others had skin mutations and others looked completely human. None of which appears to be explained. If this was an unashamed vampire parody from start to finish this wouldn’t have been a problem, but when trying to be a serious vampire horror its effect became damaging to the viewing enjoyment.
What essentially lets the plot down, though, is that this is not an original idea. And in a world where vampire movies are still coming out of every crack and crevice, this is most certainly a genre that has to be challenged and constantly adapted for a film to stand apart from the crowd. Take 2014, vampire comedy, What We Do in the Shadows. Here’s a vampire film stepping into a crowded marketplace but standing away from the crowds, by not taking itself seriously. Vampire Resurrection follows the same tried and tested storyline of what is essentially vampire slayers hunting the vampires, and the vampires subsequently hunting the slayers.
The acting did at times feel a little unenthusiastic, especially when the unfolding drama called for more. Having said that, Gareth Lawrence (playing King Vampire, Nick) and Rachel Pooley (playing Jenny, teenager turned vampire) had some fantastic scenes that were captivating and filled with horror (in a good way), emphasising their true acting potential.
Vampire Resurrection does have some beautiful redeeming qualities, predominately its scenes reminiscent of old, classic horror, and if it had stuck with this throughout, letting go of some of the ambitious special effects, then I think there would have been some real potential here.
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