Horror review: The Forsaken

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 3, 2001

A couple of months back, dedicated horror fans were slapped in the face with a mindless made-in-Vancouver slasher flick called Valentine. After suffering through that inept exercise in blood and boobs, I figured it would be a while before a fright flick so painful to sit through would make its miserable way into theatres.

But here it is.

Kerr Smith of TV’s Dawson’s Creek stars in The Forsaken as a struggling editor of low-budget film trailers who tries to earn a few extra bucks—and make it to his sister’s wedding—by driving a vintage Mercedes from L.A. to Florida. Strapped for cash, he takes on a hitchhiker (Brendan Fehr of TV’s Roswell) who offers to pay for the gas till they get to Houston. This new companion looks like a total wimp, but because he wears cool shades, we’re supposed to believe he’s a rough-’n’-tumble vampire hunter.

Turns out he’s on the trail of a motley gang of neck biters led by a swarthy hunk (Johnathon Schaech of TV’s Time of Your Life) who likes to quote Metallica and rip the hearts out of obnoxious teenage partyers. Before long, one of the babes from Coyote Ugly (Izabella Miko) shows up, all dazed and freaked-out from a previous vampire attack, and we get to ogle her naked, unconscious form while Mr. Cool Shades searches for evidence of undead contamination.

The rest of the film is a bunch of desert car chases and fiery explosions, culminating in a shootout that takes place so they can put an Oscar nominee’s name (Carrie Snodgress) in the credits. Writer-director J.S. Cardone’s attempt at ratcheting up the terror quotient seems limited to making sure the plentiful gunfire comes through as loud as technically possible. And I’ve heard about cutting corners in the makeup-FX department, but isn’t holding back on fangs a bit much?

Oh well, there’s one good thing you can say about this low-rent Near Dark rip-off. At least it wasn’t made in Vancouver.

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