has its faults, as all films do. There’s a bizarre Mayan
temple start and creepy (but not in the good way) double-intro
voice over situation. Then we shoot over to the cool part of the
goes...a young Goth chic, Lara Baxter (Eilis Cahill), complete
with the cheerleader twin sister, Helen (Devon Bailey), live in
a tourist shanty on the eastern shores of the United States.
is into black and red and hangs at the local Wicken filled Freakatorium
Shoppe of Curiosities. Her sister, a bubble of sunshine, has the
local letter-jacketed testosteronies buzzing around her and a
Pollyanna look at life.
(Jo Jo Hristova) is an ex-professional skater from a foreign suppressed
land close enough to Transylvania to make her immediately suspicious.
And brother, Raymond (Michael Strelow) is an uber eccentric scientific
loose canon channeling Crispin Glover; but with originality and
family is very dysfunctional. But when Goth chic tries to give
Cheerleader chic acne via some voodoo curse, perhaps Lara was
a tad a heavy handed on the toad spit. Because viola! Helen becomes
the seemingly McHateful Clan suddenly really pull together –
and pull apart others – to keep their family together.
Here TTW:VD becomes unique; women leads, a cool story line, and
real emotional relationships.
all this we are hinted to that there may be more to Helen’s
transformation than sis’ ill-thought voodoo curse juvenilely
involving a cut up Barbie, some hair strands, and a few cage-free
eggs whipped gently with teenage hate and crested with a nice
firm cow’s heart.
family believe (for now) that the spell is what has turned little
Ms. DoRight into a creature of the night.
ignoring many of the faux pas of the Mayan jolts, and odd back-story
of the dad who is instantly out of the film via divorce. Because
the cast left behind are wonderful.
Michael Strelow, slips
into his big brother badge with the force of a gore-edged Rambo.
Watch for this guy.
Jo Hristova, who
has that great “Curse of the Werewolf” voice, loves
her newly undead daughter as much as she did when Helen was less
of a hellion. Now she will show just what a mother will do for
her kin. Great acting. I mean Jo Jo not the mom...
chic, aka Eilis
perfect as that quiet black eyed nothing-shocks sort you see sucking
on Dumdums and secretly TIVO-ing Lost. If Cahill wasn’t
as good of an actor as she is it would have been a snore to watch
her sulking away.
Bailey, gets remarkably
better (actor-wise) after she’s allowed to de-stereotype
and bring out her inner vamp. You go girl! Who knew such a pretty
thing could look that bad; which is good here. Another cast fellow
to keep an eye out for.
are all good frankly. In fact I can not recall an ensemble this
good in so cheap a film before. Even the Freakotorium shop that
houses the story’s great vampire book (and the item that
could have done away with the crappy Mayan cut-ins) is great.
small tourist shaped town has this emporium character (here Myles
Angus MacVane). He's that town's token citizen that’s ominously
tattooed, usually long haired, pet snake toting, full of odd wisdom,
and generally into scaring the locals with his weirdness. But
he too TIVOs Forensic Files and has a skinless cat show award-winning
pussy named Satan that he spoon feeds vanilla frappes from the
DQ every Friday night en route to a frozen micro-dinner alone
by the rabbit-eared circa 1999 TV set.
vampire, excuse me, vampiress, here is gross. No sexually thrilling
soft-porn thoughts should surface for anyone. A true horror film
without that stupid "perfect eyes in the morning" shot.
The blood upon Helen’s face is like afterbirth – so
be ready. And the family’s kill room, err basement, needs
a bucket of warm soapy bleachy water – and soon. ‘Nough
said? A+ on creep factor!
Than Water: The Vampire Diaries is the first in a trilogy
by director Phil Messerer (<- say that 5 times fast). He swears
that fans who are willing to follow through, and watch the next
two films, will understand why he chose to intro with double voice
over clips and introduce a Mayan legend - then catapult us to
suburbia – and a 1/4 in introduce a great ancient book found
in the Freakatorium which also tells of an ancient vampiress’
tale. Huh? We shall see...
the old writer-director-producer curse; every frame is golden.
I see edits to be made – chopping and post production redos.
But forgive as the rest of the frames are wonderful.
of note is the music. The soundtrack is sublime and helps tell
the yarn - like it should. At times however, the sound, the actual
speaking sounds, are flooded by the music or whispered from the
cast. But that is surely budget issues.
can buy TTW:VD at Amazon->
the soundtrack get the 411 here->
Film’s official webby: www.bloodjunky.com