Director: Ben Ketai
Writers: Steve Niles (screenplay), Ben Ketai (screenplay)
Stars: Kiele Sanchez, Rhys Coiro, Diora Baird
Stage 6 films picked this up. Not sure if everyone else decided to stay clear or not but there you go. Studio 6 if you are unfamiliar were responsible for the Insidious sequels. Unfortunately they were also responsible for Hostel 3, Anacondas 4, Lake Placid 3, Starship Troopers: Invasion…need I go on?
Now fortunately (at first glance) one would be convinced into thinking this might be half decent. After all, while the great Sam Raimi was not producing this one, long time friend and industry vet Rob Tapert was. The man knows a thing or two. Also, Steve Niles was once again involved in writing the screenplay to bring his comic back to life again. Unfortunately (that word again), I’m pretty sure there were a lot of script changes immediately prior to, or during filming. I refuse to believe that Niles would be so sloppy, especially given that he is adapting his own story to begin with. The script was pretty spot on for the first film. Not sure what went wrong here.
We start the film at the end of the first. Some digital trickery now has Kiele Sanchez as Stella holding a rather burnt Eben. Fast forward 8 months and we find out that Stella is now touring the country trying to educate people about what happened during those fateful thirty days of night in Barrow. At her latest seminar, she mentions that the vampires have taken a liking to following her and being in the audience. Cue lots of UV lights installed in the rafters of the hall so that she can do away with both vampires and non-believers. A quick talk with a corrupt FBI agent later then sees Stella coming to meet the three musketeers.
Paul (Coiro), Amber (Baird) and Todd (a completely wasted Perrineau) all have their own story of loss. They are here to recruit Stella to their little merry band in order to try and track down and kill the vampire queen Lilith (Kirschner in a weird Countess Bathory role). Little does Stella know that they have a secret weapon which has led them to Los Angeles. What follows is lots of random stupidity (you should all know my thoughts on horror movie dumbness by now). Now I understand that these are just average people, not trained vampire hunters, but some of them are stupid even by those standards. Wandering in the dark with tiny torches and hey, let’s make as much noise as we possibly can (looking at you Amber).
This is like a bad low-budget Blade sequel…without Blade himself. With a pointless and terrible sex scene. I understand under duress when you think there is nothing left to live for and you might die a horrible and grisly death at any moment, that you can look for and find some temporary solace in the arms of another. But it really didn’t need to be shown, and if you are going to show it, make it look less awkward. Almost as if the TV director had to get some of Kiel’s skin on show. Having said that, I will say the ship sections of the film were suitably creepy, if not ‘borrowed’ heavily from Aliens. The ending is just…well.
As for the films quality, the production values are actually pretty decent. Some of the effects are also pretty good, but the budget did not go far enough to include the blood. It’s all over the place (pun not intended) in its quality, texture, colour and viscosity. Whether this was intentional or not I can’t say. The audio is also all over place. It really is terrible, from soft whispering to the ear-piercing screeching (and yes that’s still highly annoying). I know the audio on discs can be suspect at times, but knowing that, at least try to normalize it somewhat.
Some interesting things though, Harold Perrineau was actually in the Blade mini-TV series and Mia Kirschner has played a vampire numerous times before, perhaps most notably as Isobel in The Vampire Diaries. Overall this could have been so much better, and some of the cast (notably Kirschner) are capable of much better also. Stick to the original and give this one a miss unless you’re bored.
The Sage’s Rating: