Being sick of flesh-eating virus and sharks, I decided to go back to the classics. Well classic monsters at least with vampires. Something The Forsaken takes some strong liberties with, not that’s a bad thing. Changing up the standard rank and file of classic beasties is one of best things about the horror genre. Though here it does feel a bit off the mark. Luckily though, The Forsaken saves itself by having a vibe reminiscent of 80’s horror. Which makes some sense given this film was written and directed by J.S. Cardone, who also wrote and directed one of the video nasty’s of the 8o’s The Slayer.
The film is focused around Sean (Kerr Smith) a film editor for horror films, as he drives a car across country to attend his sister’s wedding. The car not being his, but as a side job to deliver the car to its owner. Along the way he picks up Nick (Brendan Fehr), even though he was cautioned against picking up hitchhikers. Sean does this because Nick offers to pay for gas and having lost his wallet, the offer is too good to pass up. After getting lunch in a dinner, the pair notice Megan (Izabella Miko) as she tries to get on a bus. But is rejected since she both broke and appears to be either ill or on drugs. Nick quickly notices something about her condition and has him take her to a motel. At the motel, Nick reveals that he’s a vampire hunter and that Megan is infected, this is something that Sean is more than a little hesitant to believe. Though he quickly becomes a believer when he witness a vampire, Teddy (Alexis Thorpe) burn when exposed to daylight. Teddy is part of group of a vampires traveling with one the Forsaken, the original vampires. Who were french knights that made a pact with a demon for eternal life. Each of the Forsaken carries a unique strain of the virus, one that dies when they do. Nick is hunting for the Forsaken, Kit (Johnathon Schaech). As Nick believes he is the originator of the strain he’s infected with. Nick has managed to not turn by taking a drug cocktail to counteract the onset of the virus. Though the cocktail effectiveness diminishes over time. While restraining Megan, who is justifiably freaking out when she senses Kit near, Sean is bitten becoming infected…
I’ve always liked the kill the master vampire to save yourself stories. This streams, mostly from The Lost Boys, a better vampire film and one of my favorites growing up. Here it’s used slightly less effectively, but still works great for creating and pushing along the story. Sadly the vampires in this loose their trademark fangs and while I understand the decision. I always find fang-less vampires significantly less scary than their fanged counterparts.
This film has a strong 80’s tone and I think I would have liked this film more if had been a product of the 80’s. Rather than missing that time frame by over two decades. The pacing, effects, characters and overall story arc feels much more akin to that era of horror than the early 2000’s.
The acting is… Ok at best. Most of the performances feel pretty strained. Most notably is Izabella Miko, whose performance is basically amounts being attractive and screaming once in a while. She’s not even given any dialog until the final twenty minutes of the film. Sadly any actress could have filled the role just as effectively and this is a shortcoming of the writing and not Miko’s. The best performance in my opinion was Brendan Fehr, who hits a great medium between campy and serious in his delivery.
Final thoughts, The Forsaken is at best Ok. It just feels like it’s a story that’s been done better before. The Forsaken seem to borrow a number of elements and blends them together with little regard to what comes out. Weak characters and bad dialog really drag down this film. One that has a hand full of decent moments and some solid atmosphere. Though not enough of either to salvage it. 4/10