The Boston Phoenix

DIRECTED BY: John Carpenter

REVIEWED: 11-09-98

There's probably nothing in it, but with this film and the upcoming Elizabeth, anti-papism and priest-bashing seem on the cinematic rise. By far the biggest offender is Vampires, whose targets range from the mightily mitered to a monastery full of squealing friars. Throw in a wearisome misogyny, witless dialogue, an inane plot, tedious special effects, and a total lack of suspense and the only reason to watch this farrago from the overrated horrormeister is the occasional wisecrack from James Woods.

He's Jack Crow, head of a Vatican team of vampire hunters. Armed with a combination of high tech and medieval weaponry, they prowl the American Southwest (inviting unfortunate comparisons with Kathryn Bigelow's far superior Near Dark), raiding nests of revenants and dragging them snarling out of the darkness to sizzle and burn in the daylight -- over and over again. Crow's nemesis, a heretic priest from the 14th century turned undead by one of those pesky exorcisms gone wrong, has surfaced with a scheme to make his kind invulnerable to the sun. Helping Crow is his partner, played by a Daniel Baldwin on the descending evolutionary scale from Jim Belushi and Tom Arnold, plus Sheryl Lee as a hooker/vampire victim and a greenhorn priest who's the butt of most of Woods's wit. "Hey padre," goes a typical riposte, "did you get any wood sticking that broad with the stake?" If so, he'd be the only one to get a rise out of this rubbish.

--Peter Keough


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Other Films by John Carpenter
Escape From L.A.
In the Mouth of Madness
Prince of Darkness
The Thing
They Live
Village of the Damned

Film Vault Suggested Links
Deep Rising
The Sixth Sense
The Thirteenth Warrior

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