The Forsaken (2001)
By: Craig Villinger on March 11, 2002 | Comments
Columbia Tristar (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1, German DD 5.1. English, Dutch, German, Polish, Bulgrian, Czech, and Romanian subtitles. 87 Minutes
The Movie
Director: J.S Cardone
Starring: Kerr Smith, Brendon Fehr, Izabella Miko, Jonathan Schaech
Screenplay: J.S Cardone
Country: USA
That "cheerful" character from Dawson's Creek stars as Sean, a wannabe filmmaker on his way to Florida to deliver a swank looking Mercedes to its owner and attend his sisters wedding in the process. The film begins to look as though it will be yet another American teen road trip movie, with "hip" music filling the speakers and a female motorist giving Sean a flash of her top shelf as she drives past. Not long after picking up a scruffy looking hitchhiker (played by Fehr) however the proceedings begin to head into a more horror friendly territory, and we get a basic idea of what we are in for. The pair run into a suspicious looking group of individuals hanging around a roadside dunny, and not long after leaving them behind, Sean picks up another travelling companion in the form of a sexy and almost unconscious young girl, who we learn has been bitten by...shock horror..a Vampire, and will soon be joining the ranks of the undead herself as the vampirism begins to take hold of her body. All is not lost however, as our shaggy looking hitchhiker friend Nick just happens to be a vampire hunter on the trail of some ancient bloodsuckers and knows exactly how to handle the situation.

This is obviously not the sort of road trip that Sean had in mind, and after receiving a chomp on the arm from the mysterious girl in one of her brief moments of semi-consciousness, he discovers that soon enough he too will grow pointy fangs and be deprived of lazy days baking in the sun unless he can kill the vamp from which the bloodline was started. One problem though: Vampires can only be killed on 'Hallowed ground", so Sean and Nick are forced into a race against time to find some holy type land in the middle of the desert, with the dunny lurking vampires hot on their trail.

The Forsaken could best be described as a mix between Kathryn Bigelow's Near Dark and Robert Harmon's The Hitcher (both written by the same screenwriter funnily enough), although mentioning it in the same sentence as these two fantastic horror thrillers could perhaps be considered an insult. The story (written by director Cardone) never threatens to be engrossing, and the characters for the most part are an extremely un-interesting bunch. Kerr Smith certainly doesn't do a bad job in the leading role, although it never appears as though he is making any real effort to entertain us. Jonathan Schaech is an interesting casting choice as the main vampire and could have done a great job had he actually got some screen time (the vampires in this film rarely make an appearance) while Isabella Miko spends approximately ninety six percent of the film's duration drugged out of her brain on morphine, and it actually appears as though the main purpose of her character is to provide us with occasional glimpses of tit and arse just to ensure that we don't completely lose interest in the proceedings. Brendon Fehr is the only one who actually manages to add any real personality to his character and is perhaps the only actor whose career will be furthered by appearing in this movie.

There are a few nice touches to this film (the back-story that re-invents the vampire mythos is actually quite interesting) but they don't amount to much in the end. While there is a lot of blood on offer, the films killings are relatively tame and some horror fans may feel cheated by the way in which Cardone sets the stage for full scale vampire carnage in more than one scene, only to back out and show us virtually nothing. A vampire film without interesting vampires is bound to be ineffective, and this is perhaps something that should have been mentioned to Mr Cardone before the cameras started rolling. Hardcore horror fans won't find much to keep them interested, and everyone else will probably find nothing at all. This isn't the worst horror film to emerge since Scream reportedly re-invented the genre, but it is a long way from being the best.
The Disc
The Forsaken is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio which is enhanced for 16x9 television sets. Colours look rich and vibrant and the image is generally sharp throughout the film. As is to be expected of such a recent production, there are certainly no problems with the transfer. The English Dolby digital 5.1 soundtrack is extremely impressive, and possibly helps make this movie seem more enjoyable than it actually is. Dialogue is easy to understand at all times with no audio sync problems and the films gunshots, explosions and hard rock tunes keep the sub woofer busy.

The disc contains an audio commentary from director J.S Cardone which, to be brutally honest, I could not listen to for the purposes of this review as it would have required me to sit through the film a second time. Apart from the commentary track, the rest of the extras are standard filler material, with two incredibly brief yet extremely boring promo segments (one about the cars used in the film, the other a profile of actor Brendon Fehr), 3 deleted scenes and trailers for The Forsaken, Hollow Man and Bram Stokers Dracula.
The Verdict
Nice transfer, excellent 5.1 soundtrack, dull extras, crap film! You be the judge. I need a beer, and fast!
Movie Score
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