The Forsaken (2001)
Directed by J.S. Cardone
Cast: Kerr Smith, Brendan Fehr, Izabella Miko, Phina Oruche, Simon Rex, Carrie Snodgress, Johnathon Schaech, Alexis Thorpe, A.J. Buckley, Sara Downing, F.J. Flynn, Walter A. Johnson, Bryan Kirkwood, Jamie Marsh, Matt Reid.
2001 90 minutes
Rated: (for strong violence/gore, language and sexuality).
Reviewed by Dustin Putman, April 27, 2001.
The latest in a neverending cycle of vampire flicks, "The Forsaken," a modestly budgeted horror yarn written and directed by J.S. Cardone (1998's "Outside Ozona"), is a low-rent entertainment with very little to recommend it. Remarkably similar to 1987's "Near Dark," but lacking all hints of emotional truth that the aforementioned film held, "The Forsaken" is the type of forgettable item that will be relegated to the junk bin at video stores worldwide--much sooner than you might think.
Sean (Kerr Smith), an assistant editor of trailers for a Troma-like movie studio, desperately wants to put in an appearance at his sister's wedding in Miami. Traveling cross country on the dusty backroads of the midwest, he makes a mistake in picking up Nick (Brendan Fehr), a hitchhiking drifter with a secret. It seems that Nick is a vampire hunter looking for Kit (Johnathon Schaech), one of the last remaining vampire knights whose death will stand as the savior for everyone who has been infected by him, but hasn't crossed over yet. After Sean is accidentally bitten, he is forced to aid in Nick's mission, or risk becoming a vampire himself.
"The Forsaken" offers nothing new to the vampire legend (even the none-too-subtle parallels with the AIDS virus seem dated), nor does it spark overwhelming interest at any point. Following an intriguing, successfully creepy and stylish opening twenty minutes, it dissolves into a hackneyed chase movie through the desert with our protagonists always just one step ahead of the malevolent Kit, his sexy companion Cym (Phina Oruche), and their "day driver," Pen (Simon Rex). The problem is, there is no creativity to any of it, and as the plot developments gradually arise as the film presses on, it grows more and more preposterous.
The performances are workmanlike, but nothing special. In a supporting role, Izabella Miko (2000's "Coyote Ugly"), as Megan, a young girl recently bitten by Kit whom Sean and Nick sort of adopt along the way, does nothing but look drugged out and show off her flesh. She doesn't even utter a line of dialogue until the finale, where she all of a sudden can't seem to shut up for two seconds. The writing and directing by J.S. Cardone is, likewise, passable, but uninspired. And you can't help but notice how visually dark the movie looks, no doubt to hide the fact that there wasn't a lot of money to be spent on the make-up and special effects.
When it all comes down to it, "The Forsaken" has little going for it. As a horror movie, it is never scary. As a vampire film, its originality is nil. And as an action pic, you could do better with 1996's far superior "From Dusk Till Dawn," which at least was exciting. Sound like a movie worth spending hard-earned cash for? Didn't think so.
©2001 by Dustin Putman