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THERE’S NO SUCH THING A VAMPIRES ***

Directed by Logan Thomas.

Starring Josh Plasse, Emma Holzer, Aric Cushing.

Horror, US, 81 minutes.

 

Reviewed at FrightFest: Digital Edition

 

At the beginning of this third decade of the twenty-first century, it seems that there are more nineteen-eighties themed films than there were in the actual nineteen-eighties themselves. No doubt encouraged by the success of a certain Netflix series genre filmmakers have been encouraged to embrace the films of their youth that creatively inspired them in terms of spirit and visual aesthetics. The bandwagon expands with director Logan Thomas’s vampire tale that takes several cues from such titles as THE HITCHER and THE TERMINATOR.

 

THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS VAMPIRES is as light on plot as it is on budget. It tells the tale of Joshua, a young man fleeing bare-chested through the night from an evil threat driving a motor home. Josh soon finds himself trying to evade capture by basically car jacking Ariel, a young woman driving cross country to visit friends. Ariel soon comes to realise that their pursuer, from the glimpses they get of him from within his vehicle, maybe of the supernatural variety.

Those hoping for a propulsive thriller in the vein of the films mentioned above may soon find themselves disappointed with the direction that this film takes. After its intriguing set up, which includes a welcome cameo from Meg Foster as a wide raving nun, the films lengthy feeling middle section settles into a bit of a rut as our protagonists find refuge at the home of Ariel’s friends David and Peter. What then follows is a near meta take on the horror genre with lengthy scenes discussing the horror genre. One plot thread intriguingly laid out involves silent cinema. Still, the majority of this section seems to mainly consist of lazy-eyed himbos witlessly scoffing at the number of remakes and reboots presently engaged in the horror genre.

 

Once the chase resumes the film however shoots back into life. Whilst the films lack of budget is apparent with its bare-bones locations, what is promising is that Thomas knows how to stage and film a set piece with the required pacing. Where the film does shine is in its main attraction; that being the impressively named vampire Maximillian Maddox. Played by co-scriptwriter Aric Cushing, Maximillian is a nicely designed creature whose motive for pursuing Josh is well thought out and explained in a much more satisfactory manner than the meta-commentary that has come before. The aged yet formidable vampires design is different enough from the usual onscreen bloodsuckers with its bald, near gargoyle-like appearance.

 

The script is back loaded, saving its most exciting ideas being laid out all at once right before the end of the film. A pity that the decision was not made to thread them throughout, maybe then the pace of the film would flow more smoothly and intriguingly. What we do get is a film that seems it is getting ready to expand itself for a potential sequel with the number of plot threads that are then set up, particularly with its heavily indebted TERMINATOR inspired ending. One hopes that if Logan Thomas and Aric Cushing get the chance to revisit these characters and storyline with an expanded budget, we could be in for an even more satisfactory tale of vampires prowling the abandoned roads in the seductive style of the best eighties genre offerings.

 

Iain MacLeod.

 

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