Sleepless Nights

Dir: William Hopkins
Star: Jacqueline Anderson, Matthew Thomas, Richard Ryan, Bart Shatto

Modern-day vampire hunters are a popular concept recently: aside from the obvious Buffy, it's been seen in John Carpenter's Vampires, the anime/manga Hellsing, Blade, British TV series Ultraviolet, and now this low-budget feature, which fails largely because its ambition entirely outstrips its resources. If you're going to write about a SWAT-like team who take on 'necromorphs', as they're called here, with decapitations, vampires collapsing into dust, falls from skyscrapers and so on, you must be able to deliver. Unfortunately, here, these elements, when not occurring out of shot, are portrayed in such a lame manner (PhotoShop gets pushed well beyond its capabilities), as to defuse any good feelings created by the concept.

To its credit, there are some plusses. I liked the central idea of a terminally-ill hunter 'defecting', exchanging agency secrets for eternal life; and the Worldwide Church of the Future, run by the chief vamp, is an obvious jab at Scientology. If this had had the same budget as Van Helsing, it might have helped us overlook the flaws in areas like dialogue, where Nights fails to sustain viewer interest. It's over-verbose, too often stating the bleedin' obvious, at length - even though this is where indie films can shine (talk being cheap, after all). Instead, the best thing on the DVD were the trailers: we rushed straight out this morning and rented Arachnia. Review to follow... :-)

May 2004

Fangs ain't what
they used to be
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