2 out of 10

Release Date: 31st January 2014 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Richard Johnstone

Cast: Victoria Hopkins, Anna Scott, Lucas Hansen, Melissa Advani, Angela Zahra, Louis Murrall, Edd Muruako, Kristian James, Patrick Wilde, Judith Alexander, Holly Newton, Jody Baldwin, Stewart Blackburn and Bill Fellows

Writer: Richard Johnstone

Trailer: No Trailer Available


Oh dear. Vampires meet Big Brother. Several couples go on a medical trail at a remote old castle. Little do they know that their hosts are really blood harvesting fang-faced killers.

This film boasts not one but two heroines. One is tough and smelly looking (VICTORIA HOPKINS – ZOMBIE WOMEN OF SATAN) and one (ANNA SCOTT) is a dumb middle-class blonde who doesn’t understand anything that’s going on around her. They are the only two characters that make any impression out of the procession of boring wallys that fill out the large cast. There’s a child vampire (HOLLY NEWTON) who impresses in a quite way, in that everybody else looks like they’re too cold to deliver they’re lines comfortably.

The plot shambles from one poorly set-up, nonsensical scenario to the next. The characters are set against one-another by their carers / vampires in disguise to test the stress related drugs in the trial. Alarms are tripped, doors are banged upon, and a dog is set loose making some of the number disappear.

Most of the script is terrible. It’s so bad that even a professional actor would struggle to find a way to deliver the lines in anyway sensibly. As the vampires finally show up and the cast dwindles, the pace seems to pick up, but it’s all an illusion as the film was stood still, this material is slow. The make up and gore is pretty good but none of the SFX made up for a badly editing, underlit scenes and terrible acting.  Crucially, it’s unscary and vampire followers will do well to give this one a swerve. It’s shows no sign of improvement as it goes through some ‘obvious’ motions. It even squanders it’s wonderful castle location. Fangs for nothing guys.

2 out of 10 – Deadly boring and amateur. The cast deserved to be bitten in the collective neck, forever… vor hor horrrrr.

Another review by Bat Usher below..



One thought on “VAMPIRES (2014) aka BLOODLESS

  1. Review below by Bat Usher

    You’d be better off playing the national lottery. That’s the bitter truth learned by the ten protagonists of VAMPIRES (also known – though I’m not sure by whom – as BLOODLESS and also as BLOODLUST and also technically, as it says so on the DVD sleeve VAMPIRES AKA BLOODLESS). But, as you can probably guess, they never get to do anything with that knowledge, what with all the bloodlusting vampires leaving them bloodless all over the place.

    Five couples arrive at a not particularly spooky castle, intent on earning some cash (£20,000 per couple). The film, and everyone in it, continually emphasise this payment as if it was the prize for a competition, rather than a payment for each couple on completing their part in a medical drugs trial. Weirdly, the organisers (one of whom looks like a thinner version of sinister Scottish would-be king Alex Salmond) seem to think it’s a good idea to set the couples against each other so that people end up leaving, which means a bigger prize-fund. Even with the benefit of hindsight and the revelation of the film’s secrets, this makes no sense. But what of the medical trial itself? The organisers are cagey, but it’s to do with measuring stress, so they confiscate everyone’s phones and conduct meetings in the kitchen. Being a low-budget horror, none of the guinea-pigs/contestants/victims question any of this. Nor does the viewer, what with this being a low-budget British horror with the concomitant dearth of acting ability, plot logic, story-building etc that comes with that. Which is how the film (cleverly and deliberately I’m sure) hoodwinks the cynical viewer! The reason the trial seems a bit dodgy isn’t because the writers haven’t done their research, it’s because it IS a bit dodgy. Things get spooky and mysterious (arguably): people get locked into cupboards, someone creeps about, a door gets left open, a dog is unleashed. There’s a little girl running around but only one character sees her. Meanwhile a sullen caretaker chops wood moodily, and all are forbidden to speak with him, lest his conversation should interfere with the medical testing. Somehow. And the dog barks a bit.

    And then vampires eat everyone.

    VAMPIRES is mostly awful. Rarely have so many poor actors been corralled together. They have so little to do and say that they make the Seven Dwarfs look like well-rounded individuals. There’s a dopey (possibly Dutch) non-entity whose wife is all swimmy smiles and sympathy. There’s a surly bloke who lurks pseudo-menacingly. His other half is meant to be the vampy one, but her bizarre Austro-Yorkshire accent is her most notable trait. There’s a shifty chap whose every utterance is like the kid at infant school who reckons he’s seen a teacher smoking. His lady friend has asthma (that’s her entire character description). There’s a Geordie lady who speaks her mind. Her boyfriend doesn’t. And there’s a man so vapid I only know he was there because his partner – possibly a Spanish lady – is the focal point of everything. She’s a nervous wreck and probably shouldn’t be there, but that’s the lure of unscrupulous drugs companies. Add in a few company officials, a medic or two (always a good idea in a drugs trial), and the sullen caretaker and you have a cast made of solid inconsequentiality.

    Although the premise is potentially intriguing, it doesn’t stand a second’s scrutiny. And the plot plays out in (extremely) pedestrian fashion. The castle isn’t a bad location, but little is made of it beyond the occasional ambiguous camera angle, and most of the interiors look like they’re in a dilapidated youth hostel. The filming is resolutely straightforward, but the cinematographer seems to have an aversion to both the colour and brightness buttons on his camera. (Maybe the intention was to bleach out all the colour until the blood started flowing – if so, somebody forgot).

    But there are some positives. Once the vampires are unveiled the film picks up momentum, which means it feels like it finishes quicker. And the vampire make-up and special effects are surprisingly good. It’s a pity they put so much time, money and effort into them, and so little into the story, acting and atmosphere, because I think even die-hard aficionados of the vampire film (who might quite appreciate stuff near the end of the film) may well have given up long before (though I suppose the stuff at the end wouldn’t be worth it if they’d had to spend less time/money/energy on the end to make the start better – how frustratingly chicken and egg). And the little girl (who seems to be the only natural performer on view) acts everyone off the screen. Mind you, so does the dog.

    But the film isn’t just a portfolio of moderate gore and death. No, the film is also, as the eschewed title BLOODLUST suggests, a film about economic exploitation and the consumerist urge to sate desire through a mode of manufacture (or at least, of controlled culling). It may be misleading to suggest that it’s really a subtly socialist tract on how those with power leach (literally) off the poor, helpless and hopeless as the film makes the defiantly non-socialist point of demonstrating that the poor, helpless and hopeless (in this film at least) are such an unappealing shower that you’re quite happy for the bad guys to munch their way through them. As such it’s perhaps mostly a misanthropic film about how we’re all just greedy pigs under the skin. Or maybe I just thought all that to keep me awake during the first half of the film.

    But overall, the film was doomed all along. Although BLOODLUST wouldn’t have been a bad title, they made it as BLOODLESS. What idiot thought that would be good? Finally it came out as VAMPIRES (how long did it take to come up with that?) These titles alone sum up the absence of imagination and lack of talent on display in a film which would be best titled INSIPID.

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