Deadly road trip of faux pas

Movie: The Forsaken

The Forsaken
Length: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Studio: Screen Gems
Website: http://www.spe.sony.com/movies/forsaken/
Release Date: 2001-04-27
Cast: Brendan Fehr, Kerr Smith, Johnathon Schaech
Director: J.S. Cardone
Screenwriter: J.S. Cardone
Music Score: Tim Jones (II), Johnny Lee Schell
WorkNameSort: The Forsaken
Our Rating: 1.50

Blood coats the naked body of pretty, young Megan (Izabella Miko) as she showers, dazed and confused, with rapid-fire flashes of vampiric violence going off in her doll-like head. She absently rubs a white bar of fresh soap in swirls against her nubile breasts. Both she and the soap are no longer 99.44 percent Ivory pure: Infected with the "telegenic" virus of vampirism (which telepathically and biologically links her to one of the four original vampires), she bloodies the soap more than cleansing herself.

Meanwhile, Sean (Kerr Smith), a young Hollywood horror-flick editor, has a more mundane problem: With no car and no money, how can he make it to his sister's wedding in Miami? He swings a gig transporting a classic Mercedes roadster across country and makes a few bucks in the bargain. His temporary boss hands over the keys with a warning: Don't pick up hitchhikers.

But grungy drifter Nick (Brendan Fehr) needs a ride -- and he'll pay for gas. Soon, Nick is playing the knight-in-tattered-denim to delirious sex-kitten-in-distress Megan who accidentally bites and infects Sean. Maintained on Nick's anti-vampiral "cocktail" of capsules, the motley crew hits the road running against the clock, hunting and hunted by vampire gang leader Kit (Johnathon Schaech, looking like a perfect specimen of Hollywood's passé heroin chic). Their salvation may be dependent on his destruction before they become "full-blown feeders."

"The Forsaken" is a horrible road trip of faux pas. Though the opening bloody-shower scene recalls Carrie (1976), it never truly carries through its visual promise to deliver that potent, Sadean brew of sex and horror that successfully fuels the horror genre -- especially vampire movies. Its Playboyish female sexploitation isn't sexy and blunders into blaxploitation with Kit's black whore from hell, Cym (Phina Oruche). Its horrors don't so much frighten as disgust.

"The Forsaken" is the latest in a line of revisionist vampire movies -- e.g. "The Hunger" (1983) or, more recently, Blade (1998) and Dracula 2000 (2000) -- that ignore or dismiss key elements of Bram Stoker's Dracula. Those films worked, more or less. This one doesn't. "The Forsaken" should be just that -- forsaken.

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