[box cover]

The Forsaken

"The Night has an Appetite!" warns the DVD box of J.S. Condone's The Forsaken. But according to the filmmaker, the message of his latest film is essentially "Hey gang, MTV says vampires are cool again!" The Forsaken is yet another take on the Nosferatu legacy, a tired genre that long ago reached the point of oversaturation for even the most strident fans of bloody fangs. Still, Cardone makes a valiant effort to instill a unique spin on this particular tale, and he doesn't do a bad job. The story revolves around a handsome teen named Sean (Kerr Smith) who has come down with a severe case of "I-Vant-To-Suck-Your-Neck-itis" after a strange virus infiltrates his blood. Sean's contaminator is a demented woman he encounters at a diner midway through a cross-country road trip, and Sean's friend Nick (Brendan Fehr), a fierce vampire hunter (move over Buffy!), tries to help Sean escape his pending curse before it's too late. Most of The Forsaken is set on the road, a fact that Cardone makes much of in the disc's commentary track, and it's true that the constantly shifting setting does allow the director to imbue his story with a quick pace and a moderate amount of suspense. Nonetheless, the story's main failing is the tired subject matter it chooses to explore. Vampires — a horror cliché that has proven as difficult to exterminate as the blood-hungry creatures themselves — just aren't scary any more, and the film suffers as a result of its over-familiarity, despite Condone's attempts to sneak in a few original moments (such as the handling of vampirism as a virus, one which might be cured with the right medication). However, for those stalwart Nosferatu fans for whom overexposure is barely enough, The Forsaken is a film that will satisfy. And the semi-erotic opening scene, in which a blood-covered, buxom young lady takes a leisurely shower, will no doubt test the libido of any heterosexual male viewer. The special features on Columbia TriStar's DVD release include a yack-track with director Cardone (which seems to serve largely as a verbal love letter to his cast), two behind-the-scenes featurettes, deleted scenes, theatrical trailers, and cast and crew biographies/filmographies. The disc includes both anamorphic widescreen and full-frame versions of the film on opposite sides of the disc, with audio in Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby 2.0 Surround, with optional English, French, Chinese, Korean or Thai subtitles. Keep-case.
—Joe Barlow

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