Perhaps more aptly named ’Till Death Do us Start, Charlie Vaughn’s turn at the vampire genre has a marvellously endearing quality.
With a few narrative blemishes (more about those later) and cliché-drenched dialogue (“Let me take you to the bedroom”; … “Did you kiss him back?”—all the better to underscore some seldom-consummated “How about now?” innuendo), the film’s best asset is Robin Olson's musical contribution.
Happy to tease jaded music critics (the opening sequence bite-noir cello line can readily find its way back to Franz Schubert’s “Unfinished” crypt; a glimpse of Edvard Grieg’s “Dance in the Hall of the Mountain King”—Peer Gynt Suite No. 1—flashes by as an orchestral cameo even as Greg McKeonrsquo;s truly royal member is exposed) and delight neophytes with acoustic instruments (notably the flute/piccolo lines), the music frequently forgives any other deficiencies.
Two dances of note: “Waltz of the Hicks,” engages the ear while a trio of Deliverance wannabes try to outdo The Gang who Couldn’t Shoot Straight; “Waltz of the Backstory” has a fine baroque hue while the nearly-100-year-old Jasin (Jason Lockhart curiously employs a Mr. Spock-like delivery of his purposely dated lines) reveals his life/death past to new recruit Caleb (newcomer Christian Ferrer), visually accompanied by a montage of black-and-white photos that both fill in the storyline blanks and set the stage for a whole new twist on giving head (sorry, it’s not what you’re thinking—just imagine the centenarian as a very queer Salomé …).
Ryan Adames’ more current songs (especially “Virus”) provide an ideal foil to the orchestral colours: vampire yarns have seldom sounded so good.
But let’s not kid ourselves. By tossing off historical lore (e.g., blood lovers cannot endure sunshine, garlic or religious crosses) as tiresome myth, the artistic trust (Vaughn along with writers Jeremiah Campbell and David S. Sterling) has too easily cleared the way for a covey of bare torsos enjoying rays (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and walking the planet 24/7.
The saddest part of all is the summary execution and bonfire roasting of Paul (Adames has no future as a singer based on this role, but sports a chest that deserves much wider attention). Caleb’s sincere roommate gets short shrift as the most believable character in the entourage only to be totally forgotten once Jasin’s fangs find their mark.
Enjoy the view and the charts; laugh gaily at the drama as it unfolds. JWR