The chronicles of my Video Ezy bargain-bin shopping have entered into a new dark chapter: Bloodsuckers cost me $7 and is a Canadian-produced TV movie about vampires in space. What sounds like a rather cool premise for a B-movie (think Blade meets Starship Troopers) is the sorriest excuse for a straight-to-DVD Vampire movie ever. Do not be fooled by the alluring cover art: Bloodsuckers is an exercise is boredom and frustration.
|Director: Matthew Hastings
Starring: A.J. Cook, Joe Lando, Michael Deluise, Dominic Zamprogna, Michael Ironside, Natassia Malthe, Leanne Adachi, Aaron Pearl
Screenplay: Matthew Hastings
Music: Davor Vulama
Tagline: Our whole existence depends on them
AKA: Vampire Wars: Battle for the Universe
It's the year 2210 and, in typical SF fashion, planet Earth has been reduced to a dilapidated ecological disaster. In desperation, humans are travelling all over the universe in search of natural resources to maintain their existence. What they've discovered is that space is infested with vampires…yep, that's right, vampires. To combat this galaxy-wide menace, Vampire Sanitation (V-San) units are dispatched to eradicate claret-guzzlers who attack human colonies. The plot of Bloodsuckers revolves around one particular group of vampire hunters (it's time to play 'spot the cliché'!): There's the emotionally distant, scotch-gulping Captain Churchill; Roman, the cowboy hat-wearing 'Yeehaw'-ing hardcore guy; Rosa, the hard-ass chick with a bad attitude; Damien, the newbie with a troubled past and a dead wife; and Quintana, the team's pet vampire whom nobody trusts, but she desperately wants to fit in. After a seemingly simple mission goes predictably wrong, Capt. Churchill is mauled to death and the team just barely escapes, saving the life of one colonist, Fiona. In what must be one of the stupidest moves in horror movie history, Damien assumes control over the team who all blame him for the Captain's death. Little do they know that Fiona is actually a member of the organisation Cosmosis, a group of environmentalists dedicated to protecting vampire rights across the galaxy (kind of like People for the Ethical Treatment of Vampires) and, unsurprisingly, she betrays them. After some impassioned speech giving, the team agrees to go on one more mission to avenge their fallen Captain and stick it to the blood suckers.
Some B-grade movies are very upfront about their limitations; what you see is what you get, and if you're not a snob, you're invited to enjoy a film that probably won't win any awards but will put a smile in your face. Other B-graders take this sensibility a step further and practically flaunt their lack of commercial potential in your face, aiming for the 'bad-in-a-good-way'/ 'good-in-a-bad-way' appeal that usually gets cheap laughs. Bloodsuckers is perhaps the worst kind of B-movie: the one that's totally oblivious as to how crap it actually is. Rather than playing it straight, it veers off into cartoon territory but, unlike 'ironic' B-graders, it doesn't want you to laugh at it too much, because that would detract from the horror. The problem is that there is no 'horror' to speak of; only bad acting, bad directing, stupid plotting, poor dialogue, shitty FX, and a sock puppet.
The actors appearing in this movie are a who's who of genetically inferior no-talent dickheads who regularly turn up in other stodgy films and television projects: A.J. Cook (Fiona) has the most impressive resume by far, having starred in The Virgin Suicides and Final Destination 2; Joe Lando (Churchill) was in both TV and movie versions of Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman; Natassia Malthe (Quintana) is the star of the coming-soon feature BloodRayne 2: Deliverance (they made another one? AAAAAARGH); and Dominic Zamprgna (Damien) was in TVs Battlestar Galactica. With a list like that, you assured of acting skills worthy of the B-grade circuit, but this lot are a cut below average, turning in performances that are wooden and unenthusiastic at best, to drearily vacant and monotonous at worst. Not that they're given a lot to work with in terms of dialogue, which is as uninspired and unoriginal as the plot it furnishes.
As if I don't have enough to complain about, Bloodsuckers also looks like crap: the "special effects thrill-ride" I was promised on the cover consists of the finest fourth-rate CGI a below-modest budget can buy. The costumes suck and set pieces are miserable; apparently, the future looks like plastic wrapped in Christmas lights. As for the vampires, Quintana looks like a poor imitation of Kate Beckinsale in her all-leather get-up and talcum-powdered face; her part in this movie mostly consists of hissing and baring her teeth and having telepathic vampire sex with Damien. Yes, you read that right: telepathic vampire sex. And, no, there's nothing even vaguely erotically arousing about this movie…unless you're turned on by the image of a man sitting down with his eyes closed, groaning things like "I love you so much" whilst he fantasises about his dead wife, accompanied by a faux Backstreet Boys love ballad (in which case you need more help than this movie does). All the other vampires are kitted out with run-of-the-mill monster make-up and the gore effects are the result of a trip to the butchers plus some red food dye; the vampire effects on Buffy are more convincing. Just when I thought this movie couldn't look any cheaper, a sock puppet bursts out of someone's chest.