Welcome to HorrorFest 2009.
If you want wire work that always feels like wire work, CG gore that never once feels wet, and action that just lays there onscreen, totally inert, then I have great news for you. "Blood The Last Vampire" is about to hit BluRay.
Seeing the two of them work together to adapt a popular anime series should have been an easy home run, a favorite of mine right away. So why is it that it took me three attempts just to make it through the movie on BluRay?
Maybe there's only so much pandering condescension I can take from one film, and "Blood The Last Vampire" pushes the envelope past overstuffed and well into spilling over, and the result is one of the most cynical, boring, by the numbers examples of either horror or action in recent memory, a totally joyless affair that feels like it was made by an artificial intelligence that had only ever had vampires and demons and martial arts described to it second-hand.
Set for some reason in the early '70s in Japan, with any number of pointed references to Vietnam that do nothing to add to either atmosphere or subtext to the proceedings, "Blood The Last Vampire" is the story of Saya, a girl who is part monster, and who kills demons. That's pretty much it, too. There's an ancient Council. There are prophecies. There's a bad guy who has a plan, although I'm still not sure what it was or what her goals were. There's nothing here you haven't seen or heard or read before and better, and the thing that amazes me is just how calculating it is.
Take Saya, for example. Here you've got this great actress, Gianna Jun, who can obviously play a wide range of emotions and who can make a complex, difficult character likeable onscreen. So what do you give her to play? She's a girl with a sword in a Japanese schoolgirl outfit. Why? Because that's hot? Is that literally all the reason there is for anything to exist in this film? Because of how it looks?
I'd like to think audiences are too smart for this, and to be fair, it's not like this was released on 3,000 screens, and it's not like a monster hit. But obviously there's someone who considers there to be a market for stuff this completely fake, this wooden, this pre-chewed, and it bothers me that anyone would look at this film and decide that this is good enough.
It's not. It's really, really not.
"Blood The Last Vampire" is available on BluRay and DVD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
HorrorFest 2009 runs every day of October 2009.
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