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Overall Rating

Awesome: 2.78%
Worth A Look: 19.44%
Average: 22.22%
Pretty Bad27.78%
Total Crap27.78%

3 reviews, 18 user ratings

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Forsaken, The
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by Greg Muskewitz

"Totally minor league."
3 stars

"The Forsaken" is a semi-decent little vampire movie that has several well concocted suspense scenes that allows this to be meagerly enjoyable, even against the cheesiness and schlockiness of the rest. It's a really weak recommendation on my part, and to do that, there were plenty of faults that I had to overlook to get there.

A young B movie editor (Kerr Smith) is to deliver a decked-out Mercedes in Florida and at the same time attend his sister's wedding. But that's all too simple --where would the movie be if all that were to work out. The foreboding awareness picks up not when he picks up a hitchhiker (Brandon Fehr), but even before that when a blonde breast-flashing speedster disappears into thin air. As it turns out when they pick up a young girl (Izabella Miko) who looks strung-out on drugs, the hitchhiker is actually a vampire slayer, himself having been bitten with the chance of "turning over."

As he explains, disclaiming the old "Dracula" legend, nine French knights barely escaped slaughter by the Turks, and were offered eternal life; one didn't accept, so the other eight would be granted it if they drank the blood of the one knight. Over the past 10 centuries, four had been killed, but four still remained. And the only way to cure yourself from turning over to a vampire as well, is to kill the source where you got it from.

It just so happens that one of the original eight (Jonathan Schaech) was the one who infected the girl and is using her as a homing base to get the hitchhiker and her. Why? No reason, really, except for storyline purposes, but it works towards their advantage, because if he is one of the main sources, both Fehr and Miko will be cured, along with any other he infected.

Even though there are some explosions and other effects, "The Forsaken" seems pretty low-budget, low-key, and the writer/director J.S. Cardone's bio lists eight other movies, only one of which I have ever heard of having a theatrical engagement ("Outside Ozona"). Like a disciple of John Carpenter meets Roger Corman, Cardone doesn't concern himself with anything concrete or very creative, but leans towards the gory and soft-core porny. The back story here is all very weakly constructed, described instead of illustrated, and done with very little imagination. The rules and regulations for killing one of the original eight is silly and cause only for the extension of the anticipated, over-blown spire. If you bother to question any of logic, the structure here falls all apart. Not to mention unbelievability and coincidence, like how when they were out of gas and had nowhere else to go, the old cantankerous woman who was ready to shoot them down the second before lets them in because of the sickly-looking Miko, and how it just so happens that they're on sacred ground (one of the rules to kill a "boss" --like a video game), etc. And if that was the case, why then when they were playing chicken on the road, two-against one, did the vampire and his female and human cohort swerve away to avoid collision, if Schaech wouldn't have died? After all, what care does he have if one of his "kind" is killed? It seems simple enough to make plenty more. And why, as one of the characters asks him, does he bother chasing after them? There really is no point of justification for this.

The majority of the dialogue is all very laughable and ridiculous, unrealistic and performed rather than delivered. Most of the stuff that came out of the mouth seemed like it was lifted from a generic comic book story, or nothing more than the palimpsest of an old schlock horror script. None of the characters had anything interesting or unique about them, so the possibility for development was not even worth hoping for. Near the very end when Miko thanks Smith, the scene was so flat, so empty and stupid. She thanks him for saving her life and leaves, like the way she appeared when they picked her up, or how she was just there during the opening of the movie, showering the blood off of her breasts. Cardone might have just as well left that out, because it resonated with cheap and impalpable sentimentality. Even the cliché of them ending up together would have been better than the lame "exit" we got. As well, the final scenes themselves are quite awkward and intangible.

For all of those who went to the teenage wetdream/tease-game "Coyote Ugly," here the moonpie-faced Miko (the Russian one, I think) spends most of the movie naked (save for her undies) and asleep --a wonderful combination. No doubt a beauty, her nakedness, or moreover her "strip search" for the vampire bite carries with it an erotic appeal, but it was an hour and 10 minutes into the movie before she even uttered a line of dialogue. She doesn't come off as a bad actress, but she isn't given a chance to do anything, and that's too bad, because her round face and miniscule nose are just as tactile as her nudity. The two teen-ish leads are alright, but are quickly forgettable. I didn't even recognize Smith, who is also in "Hit and Runway," another release this week. (I think he was better in "Runway," though just as mannered and artificial.)

Though you may be able to sit through the movie shaking your head in disapproval and disbelief at some of the stuff it is trying to pass off, "The Forsaken" is worth it for the surreal suspense it belts out. Mostly these scenes takes place on the road during car chases, stranded out in the middle of nowhere. It's like a nightmare, one where you can't seem to find an escape among the mazy roads, aggressive bad guys, and their unfair advantage over you. During the climax, the camera is all over the place, not hand-held style, but rapidly edited to give off the flustered, frenzied and flurried perception from these characters point-of-views. It was intense and thrilling without cultivating any of the other necessary fields around it, and in isolation, those scenes are effective. In that sense, and that sense alone, is where the recommendation lies. Anyhow, it is still better calculated and more favorable than most recent vampire flicks like "Dracula 2000" and "John Carpenter's Vampires."

With Phina Oruche, Simon Rex, Carrie Snodgress and Alexis Thrope.

Final Verdict: B-.

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originally posted: 04/30/01 09:30:47
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User Comments

10/16/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess Not a great movie, but I've seen worse. 3 stars
8/03/09 mr.mike Hot black female vamp makes it a must-see! 4 stars
1/31/05 Darryl Less characterization than some others (like Near Dark), but still a pretty good flick. 4 stars
10/23/04 B. Rasmussen Enjoyed the movie 4 stars
1/13/04 American Slasher Goddess Bad vampire flick, watch Near Dark instead. 2 stars
9/07/03 Zargo Quite atmospheric and fun... I enjoyed it 4 stars
6/28/03 Rick Vickers Not Too Bad 3 stars
1/29/03 scott GREAT 5 stars
10/13/02 Jim I turned it off, and I *NEVER* turn off vampire movies. Nothing but a NEAR DARK wanna-be. 1 stars
4/26/02 ^Elendil^ Blegh. 1 stars
4/01/02 malcolm the hope of seeing the black girl naked was the only reason i kept watching 2 stars
6/15/01 zombie vomit inducing. not because of the gore, but because it sucks so bad 1 stars
5/08/01 whistler watch it with a pinch of salt and its harmless fun! 4 stars
5/01/01 Ulatekk The MTV editing made it unwatchable. Fast edits took away from the suspense. It sucked. 2 stars
5/01/01 Tara I would not recommend this movie. 2 stars
4/30/01 HyacinthGirl Worse than Dracula 2000: and that's saying a lot. 1 stars
4/29/01 Caty I thought this movie was pretty good, for what it is - a B grade horror movie. 4 stars
4/28/01 Jack Lindley Kerr Smith & Brendan Fehr are cool. Lots of dumb dialogue & silly new vampire lore, though 4 stars
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  27-Apr-2001 (R)



Directed by
  J.S. Cardone

Written by
  J.S. Cardone

  Kerr Smith
  Brendan Fehr
  Simon Rex
  Carrie Snodgress
  Johanthon Schaech
  A.J. Buckley

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