The film opens with Gary Busey (playing a blind man with the world’s biggest cane)investigating a vampire killing. An elaborate flashback then begins, telling us how a vampire came to be among us. Among American mercenaries in Afghanistan back in 1989 are Jack Frost and Nat McKenzie. The latter is bitten by a Russian vampire, and gradually begins to change,going over to the dark side. Frost eventually realizes him must hunt his best friend down. I’ll say this for the film: it is very ambitious on a very small budget, globe-hopping from Afghanistanto Mexico to the States, and is filled with combat and vampire CGI. The script is painful, though,loaded with ungainly exposition, and the action scenes are curiously static. Neat opening credits,though.
The music is given pride of place in the mix. It thunders and pounds virtually non-stop, and so it’s a good thing that it’s sound quality is very impressive. Unfortunately, it frequently renders the dialogue all but inaudible. Gary Busey in particular is hard to understand when the score is blasting away. The sound effects have minimal rear-speaker presence, even when the effect is an explosion (that music simply takes over everything). As well, the dialogue sometimes sounds oddly hollow even in those rare moments when the score isn’t playing.
The box claims a 1.85:1 ratio, but this looks more like 1.78:1 to me. The opening scene looks very drab and washed out, with a picture that is rather soft and grainy. Things get much better after the credits (which look terrific). The colours are stronger from this point on, as are the contrasts and the blacks.
Director/writer/producer/editor Keven VanHook is joined by his technical crew on the commentary, and the discussion is, as you might guess, largely technical. As is frequently the case, the fact that the movie is very low-budget makes for a large number of amusing anecdotes,and the commentary is often more interesting than that for much bigger movies. There is more commentary available for the single deleted scene and the four special effects scenes (which arebroken down and anatomized). There is also a storyboard gallery, and the trailers included are forFrost, The Pool, Legion of the Dead, Hell’s Gate and Dracula: The Dark Prince. The menu’s main page, intro and transitions are animated and scored, but the other pages are silent and still.
Ambitious, but its reach far exceeds its grasp, not to mention the viewer’s patience.