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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Desert of Blood (2008) Horror Vampire

Desert of Blood (2008) - When a metal detecting tourist uncovers a grave in Tacate Mexico he mistakenly releases a vampire trapped in it thirty five years earlier. Luis Diego (Justin Quinn) the vampire trapped in that grave was not too happy when he got out and with a hunger that needed feeding. He seeks out those who were left behind when he was trapped by the local priest and his girlfriends father. Unfortunately for him so many years have past that her is hard pressed to find anyone who is still alive. He wants revenge but those who placed the silver cross on his coffin have long since died. So instead he seeks out his former love, Sarita (Yvonne Rawn).
  There is an interesting conflict for Luis, on one hand he loves Sarita, or at least the seventeen year old version of her. Yet he knows she stood by and let him be buried alive. To be fair though her Father told him they had destroyed Luis, it was only the pleading of then novice priest Hernandez (Flint Esquerra) that convinced the two to spare Luis in  the grave. Sarita now in her fifties and caring for orphan kids on her ranch can't be the woman Luis once loved. He tells her he wants revenge but is blunted in it because of circumstances. Soon though the time when he can get some satisfaction will arrive.
  Sarita in an unrelated but convenient for plot device has a stroke and is bed ridden unable to move or talk. This prompts her college age niece Maricela (Brenda Romero) to travel to the ranch to care for Sarita and her kids. Accompanying her are her two friends Heather (Natalie J. Horton) and Samantha (Tori White) who see it as a chance to take a bit of down time in the sun. This is the primary storyline as Luis sees Maricela as a way to hurt Sarita. Getting close and then wanting to turn her seems like the plan but honestly the film is not really clear it wants Luis to be the bad guy. In fact for most of the film he seem a bit ambivalent to revenge on Sarita. It could be the poor acting by Quinn but I think the character has a complex relationship to navigate. On one hand he was cruelly locked in a box starving for 35 years but on the other hand the people who did it are dead and the love of his once life claims she did not know what happened to him.
  Still he tries to get to know Maricela and even takes the time out of his non busy schedule to meet her at a cantina in town for a night of drinking and feeding and dancing and feeding. It is a strange scene where he not wanting to seem out of touch with the modern party scene bring with him his first female victim Amy (Annika Svedman), who he has turned into a vampire.
   She is there to make him seem not too interested in Maricela so to attract her more. Also accompanying him is human henchman Carlos (Mike Dusi) a small time thug who is his daylight "watcher". He has a deal with the guy that he will make him rich beyond his dreams. Frankly the only time we see any of these characters is when they are interacting with Sarita or Maricela . No one seems to do much of anything beside sleep and talk to each other. What I guess I am really saying is the character development stops at the plot the story can move forward. These shell characters are just a way to move things along. They have varying degrees of success, Carlos scoring with Samantha, Amy frustrated but eventually feeding off a patron and Luis connecting with Maricela even with cock blocker Cris (Naim Thomas) around. Cris an old friend from the very first time you see him you know he is going to be Maricela's love interest and as it turns out hero too. He figures out who or what Luis is and goes to deal with him Man to Vampire.
  In the end though the personal stuff is not going to be the focus of the film. Luis looses more and more of his humanity as time goes on and becomes solely focused on revenge. His really is the extent of the motivation so with his bad acting the story does not carry the impact it could.  Cris and Maricela figure out that he is a vampire out to do harm and know they have to deal with him and his group of henchmen. The two girl friends come along to make the Scooby gang complete in the final showdown. Did I mention both the other girls played by White and Horton were in the Candy Stipers film reviewed a year or two ago on this blog. I mention it because it is one of the most viewed pieces I have on the blog with over 4000 views, mostly because people looking up info on the striper bass have the review show up in the search results.
  You can probably guess what happens in this film as really there is no other place for it to go. It is the biggest flaw, that it is very one dimensional. A lot of the acting is tough to watch and the plot for what it is only makes sense to a point. There is this aspect of the luis character where as the oldest vampire he is the wisest. The back story though does not match up to that reality. In the past when he was banished to the ground he was young and not even sure what was happening to him. Now years later after living in a box the entire time he is suddenly the experienced expert. Everything down to the ending could easily be predicted by the most novice movie fan so it is a bit disappointing. I got this movie because in the soundtrack are included a couple songs from Ana Sidel, the LA based singer with the great cd "A Solas..." but unfortunately the movie does not do it justice.
Rating (2.9) 5.0 and up are recommended, some more recommended than others.

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