Published May 01, 2001The long decline of the vampire/teen slasher/titty flick has another lamentable chapter in "The Forsaken," an utterly predictable, laughably cheese-ball eat-em-by-night action/comedy/buddy picture (although "comedy" must be here qualified: the scenes that are supposed to be funny aren't, and the parts that are supposed to be creepy are). The plot plods around an innocent film-maker, Sean (Kerr Smith) picking up the mysterious, disaffected slacker hitchhiker Nick (Brendan Fehr) who is not, we soon learn, all that he appears to be. Hmmm. Along the highways of the American Southwest, they meet first a mysterious group of sinister, but pretty hot, strangers who refer to him as a "hunter." Hmmm. Subsequently picked up is the strung-out Megan (Izabella Miko, mute save for the last five minutes, other than a shriek here and a grunt there) in a diner, where Nick immediately interprets her acid/highball comedown jitters as something else altogether. Hmmmmm.
The mysterious group consists of three vampires (one male leader, two female bloodsucking followers and one dimwit mortal male slave) whom we see chewing, munching, slaughtering and general mayhem-making throughout until the not-gory-enough-to-be-satisfying finale. Guns, the sun and hallowed ground all play prominent parts.
The film's biggest problem lies not with its faults - there are far too many to enumerate here, so we accept bad scripts, painful dialogue and ludicrous plot twists as par for the course - but in what it skirts: the gory scenes are hardly stomach-churning, the naked breast scenes hardly titillating, and whatever happened to the good old stake through the heart? Modern day vampire films - and horror films in general - have strayed from trying to scare the audience and have resorted to merely creating cardboard characters that are devoid of any sympathy. Relying on cool quips and special effects, nothing is left to play on the viewer's imagination, where good horror thrives. "The Forsaken" chickens out of what should be its main strengths, and becomes nothing more than a vehicle for the latest top of the charts singles featured on its decidedly second-rate soundtrack.
While I was hoping against hope for buckets of blood and piles of gore, all I got was two dudes beating on bad girls with shovels and shotguns, with the occasional gratuitous bared breast. But since I can't be entirely negative, I will say that director Cardone did deliver some spectacular shots of deserts, mesas, twilights and dawns. I wonder what he could do if given a quality script to begin with - but before I am any more generous, I will point out that he is guilty of also penning this hapless piece of drivel.