Vampiro (2009)

I am not sure this film even deserves a full review. Of all the films I have seen so far, this one was possibly the hardest one to sit through – being at least as bad as Immortal Enemy, but definitely less entertaining. After only eight minutes I was all but certain that Vampiro would turn out to be an unsalvageable wreck, and I was right.

 

Casanova (yes, that’s his name, apparently) is born as the son of a human mother and a vampire father. His mother was his father’s victim, and in that constellation the film emulates other half-vampire franchises, like BloodRayne for example. Casanova hates his father and wishes to hunt him down; and in the process, he kills other vampires as well (again, emulating Rayne’s search for her father, and also Blade’s search for his mother’s killer).
Casanova has a disciple called Alma, a young girl he once turned. For some reason, Alma developed into a different type of half-vampire than him.
I wish I could give you some plot summary, but I am pretty sure this film has no plot. Apparently, his father hates him as much as the other way round, so three of his fahter’s henchmen hunt Casanova, while Casanova is hunting them as well. So, they all hunt each other, in some sort of happy vampiric merry-go-round.

 

If now you find yourself thinking that two or three elements of this premise sound like they have at least some potential, rest assured that these elements are never used in any way, or lead to anything in this film.

In fact, throughout this film, there are so many minor unconnected plot-lines (past and present) and narrative culs-de-sac, that you wonder if all of this came out of the same script or whether it had been quarried from ten different screenplays. You might as well put all of the film’s scenes in a big hat and pull them out in a random order and it would make little difference.

There is absolutely no rhyme or reason to anything any one of these characters does or says. Some of the characters are written so poorly and so incompetently that I would not be surprised to learn that writer/director Jorge Ramirez Rivera had stolen the script from a 5-year-old.

As mentioned, BloodRayne and Blade may have been an inspiration as far as the premise is concerned. But the film has no real overall tone, although there are a number of sexploitation elements as well as hints at Southwestern Gothic. Amusingly, there are some extremely silly day-light-protection suits the vampires in this film are wearing in one scene, and with some amount of goodwill one might interpret them as an homage to the equally silly suits in Vampirella.

 

There is very little to like in this film. One or two of the sets look OK-ish, but most are just randomly selected rooms and front yards. And a shot of two people dog-paddling around in a shallow pool is supposed to represent some life-or-death underwater fight-scene. Talking of which: 95% of the fight scenes in this film look horrible, even to my untrained eyes.

The cinematography and the editing are decidedly sub-par, and the acting is just unbelievably bad. With the exception of one or two actors, the entire cast seems to be made up of amateurs. There are whole passages where you cannot really talk of bad acting, as there is no actual acting taking place: there are simply a bunch of people standing in a room saying words.

And while Damian Chapa (Casanova) and Leslie Garza (Sexicana) may represent the only half-way competent actors in this cast, their acting is still really bad, with both of them suffering under the atrociously bad writing and the sub-par directing. Veronica Rodriguez is not doing such a terrible job as Alma, by the way; but still, there is only so much you can expect from a child’s acting. At least, Rodriguez manages to give Alma a bit of an air of mystery, whether that was by design or by accident.

Anyway, the result of the bad writing, bad directing, and bad acting was that only 26 minutes into this film I really wanted all of these characters to die (except Alma, that is) and do so as soon as possible.

 

Many passages in the film contain voice-overs with our protagonist narrating the story from the off. That is usually a bad move (see The Bleeding, for example), and is often a cop-out in order to bridge some missing scenes or dialogue, etc. In Vampiro, too, it feels cheap and amateurish, but at least Damian Chapa has a voice that partially works for that narrative role. The writing in these passages is pretty bad, however, so it does not matter anyway. There is a lot of pretentious language in this narration, which is at times pseudo-meaningful and/or pseudo-philosophical. All of which increases the gap between the apparent ambitions of this film and its actual quality even more. In the case of Vampiro that gap is probably even bigger than in the cases of Crimson Winter and The Bleeding.

That said, I am not entirely sure there actually were any ambitions with Vampiro. Since no-one involved in this project seems to have had any interest in making something even remotely resembling a decent B-movie, I am wondering if the motivation to make this film lay elsewhere. Money-laundering might be one possibility….

 

In theory, this film might amuse some bad film aficionados; but you’d need an extraordinarily high tolerance for stupidity and incompetence to make it through this film. It has only 79 minutes of running time, but it feels much, much, much longer.

Personally, I would rather sit through an Uwe Boll retrospective than ever see Vampiro again. This film has no redeeming features. Rating: 0 out of 10.

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