From LA Times:
‘Forsaken’ Adds Fresh TV Teen Blood to Worn Vampire Genre
By MILES BELLER, Special to The Times
In the young and the restless vampire escapade “The Forsaken,” gore and guts spill onto the screen in giddy profusion–it’s a slice of life, viscera and all.
Putting a sardonic, postmodern kick on the undead-from-the-crypt horror trip, director-writer J.S. Cardone (whose credits include “Outside Ozona,” “Black Day Blue Night,” and “A Climate for Killing”) maneuvers his cast of ravishing kids–many from the teen TV world–through the ravages of ghoulish possession. It’s an outing down “Dawson’s Creek” by way of the River Styx.
Things begin genially enough. A young man named Sean (Kerr Smith, who is on “Dawson’s Creek”) embarks on a road trip to deliver a classic Mercedes, this as a means of traveling to his sister’s wedding. However, disregarding warnings about giving rides to strangers, Sean picks up a lone hitchhiker named Nick (Brendan Fehr of the WB’s “Roswell”). Though Nick seems to be a devil-may-care slacker, it turns out that it is precisely the devil Nick cares about.
Nick’s real purpose is to track down packs of wayward young vampires, who survive by infecting ill-fated souls. Indeed, Nick has contracted the fatal “blood disease” and must exterminate the ghoul who bit him to return to normal.
Matters get more maniacally macabre after Sean and Nick befriend a stunned, terrified young woman, Megan (Izabella Miko), whom the fiends have left for dead. She winds up as vampire bait, a body the vamps’ depraved leader Kit (Johnathon Schaech from the Fox series “Time of Your Life”) is now insatiably drawn to. Things go personally south for Sean after Megan sinks her teeth into him, transmitting the cursed vampire pox. Now the only thing that can keep Sean mortal is for Kit to be destroyed.
“The Forsaken” vamps on its vampires with more than a little humor. It’s a boo-movie that does not take itself in a deadly serious vein. In fact, “The Forsaken” purposefully forsakes several key conventions of the classic bloodsucker canon such as fangs, garlic and stakes. Yet it does present a back story tracing its vampires’ pedigree to cursed knights of the 11th century Crusades.
Additionally, the movie draws on certain aspects of the genre that have enlivened living-corpse flicks since Nosferatu first stalked cinemas nearly 80 years ago. Cut away from society, adrift in an age that is changing too rapidly to be understood, the vampire endures a melancholy estrangement.
Production notes suggest that “The Forsaken” can be taken as a metaphor for a world gone wrong; the vampire pox an allusion to contemporary scourges such as drug addiction and AIDS. However, “The Forsaken” is surely no social allegory but a loud, snapping horror flick in which supernatural forces have their way.
This slight but not altogether uninteresting monster opera can be a hoot. Viewed as a quick, flip vamp on vampires, “The Forsaken” packs the bite stuff. Here foolish, ghoulish shenanigans can be bloody good fun.
* MPAA rating: R, for strong violence/gore, language and sexuality. Times guidelines: Heavy violence and plenty of bad language; inappropriate for younger viewers.
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