August 10th, 2008

LOST BOYS: THE TRIBE (2008) ** ½

Chris (Tad Hilgenbrink) and Nicole (Autumn Reeser), two rejects from the CW network, move into the same beachfront haven for vampires that Jason Patric and Co. moved to in Lost Boys Uno and start hanging out with a douche bag surfer (Angus Sutherland, the half-brother of Kiefer Sutherland).  Pretty soon, Angus is slipping Nicole his 100% Angus Beef and making her drink Vampire Mad Dog, effectively turning her into a vampire.  Chris goes to the one and only vampire hunter extraordinaire, Edgar Frog (Corey Feldman) to save his sister and terminate all the poseur surfer dudes they can get their hands on.


Basically what we got here is one of those numbers where the studio (in this case Warner Brothers) checks their books and sees that a seemingly forgotten movie (at least in their eyes) has made a shitload of money on DVD so they make a low budget, straight-to-DVD sequel in hopes of grabbing some more cash to line their greedy pockets. 


I know, I know, you, me, and the legions of Lost Boys fans out there would love to see a big budget theatrical sequel instead of a pointless DVD-only retread, but it ain’t gonna happen any time soon.  (Don’t you wish you all signed all those fucking petitions that have been online for years advocating a theatrical release now, asshole?)  What we see is what we get here I’m afraid, but let’s face facts here people:  as 21 years after the fact straight-to-DVD sequels of classic horror films go, this could have been a LOT worse.  If you are a fan of the first film who can appreciate a not-bad direct-to-DVD sequel, then by all means, check it out.  However if you are expecting a film that will be the cinematic equal of the 1987 original, this review will in no way be helpful to you, so hit the fucking road. 


While director P.J. Pesce (no stranger to direct-to-video vampire sequels after helming From Dusk Till Dawn 3) swipes things wholesale from the beloved original, he does toss in enough blood, guts, severed heads, and titties to keep any gorehound/horndog happy.  Sure, the original Lost Boys flick didn’t have much in the way of gore or nudity, but the addition of copious amounts of red stuff and boobies certainly doesn’t hurt this movie one bit.  I especially enjoyed the scene where the hot vampire chick got impaled on a set of deer antlers.  Now I know you’re gonna tell me, “Wait, the same thing happened to Kiefer Sutherland in the first movie!”  But I ask you, was Kiefer a totally smoking hot naked chick who shot blood out of her bosom like she was smuggling cherry Gushers fruit snacks in her breast implants when she got killed?  I think not. 


I’m not going to lie to you; there are some things about this movie that positively SUCKS.  (Get it?  I made a vampire pun!)  For one, Donald Sutherland should have his family tree looked at again, cuz this Angus dude just doesn’t have the chops to hang with the big boys.  In nearly every scene he’s in, whether trying to seduce Reeser or vamping out and killing people, he always looks bored to tears; like he just came down from an energy drink high or something.  He’s better in the acting department than say, Joe Estevez or Don Swayze, but that is not a ringing endorsement.  The climax is also mishandled and everything gets wrapped up way too fast.  Not to mention the fact that you have to sit through a lot of end credits just to SEE Corey Haim for all of 45 seconds.  And it’s not worth it.  Oh yeah, and it also pained me to see that in this day and age that there are still annoying characters in these kinds of movies who feel the need to videotape everything. 


You know what though, for every time your hopes are completely dashed, there’s at least one moment that sort of makes up for it.  Like the gratuitous Tom Savani cameo.  Or the welcome appearance of that shirtless saxophone player (who has been eating a LOT of Twinkies in the past 21 years) from the first film.  But definitely the best thing about the movie is Corey Feldman.  He gives one of the most over the top performances of this millennium and his gruff voice is even more ridiculous sounding than Christian Bale in The Dark Knight.  Every time Feld-Dog’s on screen, intentional or not, he’s good for a laugh or two.  He naturally gets all the best lines of the movie such as:  “Who ordered the stake?”, “I smell the fungus of death!”, and the line that will almost assuredly win the coveted Video Vacuum Award for Best Screenwriting:  “Your sister is a Suck Monkey!”


Years ago, a murderer wearing panty hose on his face killed a bride-to-be on her wedding day.  Now he’s back, eliminating bridesmaids left and right working his way up to another young bride-to-be (Caitlyn O’Heaney) who he intends to turn into mincemeat.


This moderately effective low budget chiller is a little different from the rest because you know pretty much from the get-go who the killer is, which thankfully spares us a lot of the gratuitous whodunit nonsense found in most of these pictures.  Having said that though, since we already know the identity of the murderer, it’s kinda pointless to have all that superfluous police procedural stuff where a mustachioed cop doggedly tracks down the killer.  The Halloween inspired score also helps hammer home the fact that this is little more than just another knock-off to that classic.


Despite, or perhaps because of the overly familiar surroundings, He Knows You’re Alone works better than it probably should.  Director Armand (Cameron’s Closet) Mastroianni does a lot of things right in this, his first cinematic endeavor and handles the stalking scenes particularly well.  The opening film-within-a-film pre-title sequence is a real grabber and the subsequent murder in a movie theater has a Hitchcockian ring to it.  While Mastroianni favors suspense over gore, that doesn’t stop him from springing an occasional juicy surprise on us like a severed head that turns up in an aquarium. 


But this movie will never be remembered for the kills.  It will always go down in history as being the movie where Tom Hanks made his film debut.  He’s got an undeniable charisma and is a standout among the youthful cast, even though his dialogue is nothing but a bunch of horse hockey about the “psychology of fear”.  Hanks isn’t the only familiar face in the film as we also have Don (Squirm) Scardino, James (Independence Day) Rebhorn, Paul (Die Hard) Gleason and Dana (Death Wish IV) Barron turning up in supporting roles.


Although it could’ve used some more bloody goodness, He Knows You’re Alone is still a better-than-average slasher flick featuring a before-he-was-famous megastar, so what more do you really want from a movie?


AKA:  Blood Wedding.