Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Beyond The Rave (2008)

Remember when Hammer tried to take Dracula and place him into modern times? They tried their best, bless them, but the end results were poor, and seem much more dated today than any of their movies set in a yesteryear full of quaint villages, bustling taverns and aristocrats lording over local commoners. I mention those movies because this movie, from the reborn Hammer, suffers from, essentially, the same fate.

It's a vampire film, with the vampires all setting up a big rave to catch all of their victims. Among the potential victims are Ed (Jamie Dornan), a young man about to head off for active service in Iraq the next day, and his girlfriend, Jen (Nora-Jane Noone). There are also some hard gangster types (led by movie bruiser Tamer Hassan) about to get way out of their depth.

Originally released as a series of webisodes, Beyond The Rave never shakes off the feeling that it's a number of scenes stitched together with very little thought given to the overall storyline. The fact that the movie still contains the episode numbering, appearing every few minutes, doesn't help, but there's also a real lack of logic throughout, a few characters who appear and disappear at random, and a third act that's very hard to care about, thanks to the mix of derivative moments and sheer stupidity.

The acting isn't that great, although anyone expecting Tamer Hassan to do anything other than act tough and spit out expletives really shouldn't be looking in this direction anyway, but it's far from the worst aspect. Dornan and Noone make for decent leads, Matthew Forrest is likable enough as Necro, their friend, and Sebastian Knapp is stuck portraying his vampire character in the bored, moping style. Sadie Frost has a cameo, but makes a great impression with her memorable scene, Steve Sweeney is okay as one of the other hard men tagging along with Hassan, and the rest of the cast simply pop in and out of the screen without making much of an impression.

Viewers will be unsurprised to find out that director Matthias Hoene followed this up with (the much more enjoyable) Cockneys Vs. Zombies. Thankfully, with that movie he had a much better script. Writers Jon Wright and Tom Grass really drop the ball here, apparently just content to rip off the opening sequence of Blade and fill out the rest of the movie with random moments that obviously seemed a good idea while they were struggling to stretch their weak material to feature length. Prime example, an old vampire who spends his time getting stoned and talking to ravers who bump into him in the woods could end up interesting or laughable, but instead just ends up being another diversion. If his character had a decent resolution then I must have blinked and missed it. As far as I'm aware, he just disappeared after his two main scenes.

There are some decent tunes in the soundtrack, some sexy female vamps, a few decent bits of gore, and . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . well, actually, that's about it. It's not quite among the very worst vampire movies out there, because there are a lot of cheap vampire movies that are SO bad, but it's not really worth your time either.


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