There’s No Such Thing As Vampires review – adventure horror with a sense of fun

August 28, 2020
Alix Turner 0
Film, Film Reviews
3

Summary

Car chases, blood, romance and action. Can’t go wrong with this entertaining vampire throwback.

3

Summary

Car chases, blood, romance and action. Can’t go wrong with this entertaining vampire throwback.

How would you feel if you were carjacked late at night, and the (good looking) guy who gets in insists he’s being chased by a vampire? That’s how Joshua and Ariel meet in There’s No Such Thing as Vampires, and it’s a tense, exciting start.

Directed by Logan Thomas, and written by Thomas with Aric Cushing, this is a film that takes the viewer back to action-packed horror films from earlier decades, just like they intended. (Though it’s not so much “come with me if you want to live”, but “I’ll go with you because I want to live.”) The chase near the start is real goose-pimply stuff, with echoes of The Duel and The Hitcher. When the car stops, having arrived at Ariel’s destination (a Halloween stopover with a couple of friends), the pace slows down briefly and the tone changes; but the film stays equally dramatic and fun, as the chase continues on foot and personal.

Ariel (Emma Holzer) is a practical and outgoing young woman, rather than a scream queen, wary of Joshua until she has no choice but to believe him and then keen to help. Holzer is excellent in the part, capable and endearing alike. Joshua (Josh Plasse) is not much more than a Rocky Horror style hunk at first, vacant and scared, but as we get to know him, we can see why the pair connect. It’s the addition of the other (human) characters which make the film more quirky than simply a horror romp, and give it some entertaining little episodes.

Ariel’s friends aren’t given much character themselves but have a very funny conversation (familiar to genre geeks perhaps) in which David gushes about his love for Carpenter’s Halloween and the original Friday the 13th, whereas Peter has only ever heard of the modern remakes. A scene when Ariel and Joshua seek help and sanctuary in a church features the majestic Meg Foster (of They Live and The Lords of Salem fame), but whether she’s prophetic, mad, or just melodramatic – who knows! – she is fabulous to watch.

And then there’s the one who is chasing Joshua, the sinister and brutal Maximilian Maddox (Aric Cushing, also co-writer). When we do finally see him, he is a vicious throwback to classic old monsters: wrinkled grey face, fangs, and no mercy. From my point of view though, There’s No Such Thing as Vampires held more suspense before he appeared, though there was one scene which took me by surprise with how anxious I got, with the camera watching each person individually creeping under office desks, petrified in case the villain found where they were hiding.

There’s No Such Thing as Vampires is a fun, pacy horror adventure film, with several changes of mood and direction. Those changes continue up to a weird ending: it might be that the script was cut, or a sequel is planned, but the introduction of an additional, unexplained antagonist threw me. The electronic soundtrack, which complemented the almost retro ambiance, tied things together more than sufficiently though. If you like horror films to be enjoyable without resorting to comedy, and applaud when the writers have fun with tropes rather than needing them, this is one to watch out for.

This review was filed from FrightFest 2020. You can check our full coverage of the festival by clicking these words.


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