23 October 2009

Lost Boys: The Tribe

Spoilers Ahead

I've been reluctant to watch Lost Boys: The Tribe. The original movie was brilliant; I knew the sequel could never live up to it. Not to mention the less-than-stellar reviews it received, and the not-promising premise outlined in the Reign of Frogs comics. But it had to be done, so on this cold, wet, grey, miserable day, I finally sat down to watch The Tribe. And the verdict is: at least it's finally over with.

First off, if you watch this movie in hopes of seeing any of the original characters other than Edgar Frog (Corey Feldman) and (briefly) Sam Emerson (Corey Haim), you're out of luck. Gramps was dispatched in Reign of Frogs, Lucy/mom has been replaced with obnoxious Aunt Jillian, Michael and Star are dead. Alan Frog was turned in the comics, mentioned in the movie, and will clearly be back in the sequel. Sam's also a vampire now (disappointing, although fangs suit him), and he and Edgar show up in a short interlude during the credits. I expect he'll be back in the sequel, as well. David was nowhere to be found, which is good and bad--his character was awesome, but who wants to see anyone other than Kiefer Sutherland playing him? Then again, he had such a prominent role in Reign of Frogs, I was sure he'd at least make an appearance in The Tribe. Speaking of making an appearance, I must say I think it would be nifty if they brought Laddie back for the next sequel; somehow I don't see it happening, though.

Set in the present day (i.e., about twenty years after The Lost Boys), The Tribe opens promisingly enough. There's a beach at night, nice shots of the water, a group of young surfers spouting intensely unimpressive dialogue. The boys have their fun before being confronted by the owner of the private beach on which they're trespassing. The owner, by the way, is played by Tom Savini, one of the few high points of the movie. No surprise when he turns out to be a vampire. More surprising is when the surfer boys show off their own fangs. They attack Savini's character en masse, killing him, and then beheading him for good measure. If the whole movie had followed along those lines, the terrible dialogue might just have been forgiveable. Oh well.

Cut to scenes of Santa Carla in the daytime (still a hole, only now minus the carnival) and the arrival of brother and sister Chris and Nicole Emerson, children of Michael and Star. It's fairly depressing that after everything they went through in the first movie, one-time half-vampires Michael and Star went on to settle down, have kids, and then die in a car accident. (When Edgar mentioned it in Reign of Frogs, I thought it was just a lame story to put David off their trail. My bad.) At least you'd think they would have warned their kids about Santa Carla. Chris (Tad Hilgenbrinck, Disaster Movie) is an ex pro surfer who was kicked off the circuit after he snapped and injured another surfer (Jon). Sister Nicole (Autumn Reeser, The O.C.) mainly just serves to cause trouble and make her brother crazy. They arrive in Santa Carla hoping for a cheap place to live and a chance to rebuild their lives. Instead they find Shane Powers (Angus Sutherland, charmless half-brother of Kiefer) another ex-surfer, now head vampire of the tribe. Of course Shane takes an instant liking to Nicole, forcing Chris to "infiltrate" the tribe in order to save her. Edgar Frog helps Chris out. Although Feldman's character isn't in the movie as much as he should have been (what's the point of a Lost Boys movie without the Frog Brothers?), the fact that he spends most of his time onscreen repeating dialogue and scenes from the original movie left me feeling that he was in there way more than necessary.

Besides the crappy dialogue, the pacing also sucks (no pun intended). Why fill your movie with pesky character and plot development when you can use screen time for awesome scenes of parking lot donuts, car/motorcycle/skateboard chases, and half-naked chicks?

By the way, the movie tries way too hard to be edgy, thus ensuring that it will fail miserably. Look: drugs! Underage drinking! Tattoos! Girls making out! Rebels harassing the law! Yawn. Not to mention that the female vampires (or half-vampires) all seem to acquire a double dose of skank along with their fangs (human women are just modestly skanky). Star would not be impressed. I know I'm not.

As for the male vampires, they seem to spend most of their time giggling dementedly and disemboweling one another for fun. Kids these days.

The Tribe also seems to be operating under the impression that if it references The Lost Boys enough (music, dialogue, props, scenes), it'll be as good as the original movie. Sorry guys--none of that will make up for poor writing, bad acting, and a lack of story. Annoying vampires don't help either. This movie has "sub-par" practically stamped across the title.

Not that it's all bad. Mostly, but not all. The high points (and yes, they're few enough to be listed):

*The siblings find a pair of antlers in their new home that look remarkably like the ones that impaled David. Less of a high point is when the antlers are later used the same way on another vampire.

*Super cheesy oiled-up sax player from The Lost Boys (Timmy Capello) is back! And he's really let himself go. (Technically it's not really Timmy Capello, who looks pretty much the same as he did back then, but it's a cute reference, and particularly amusing to those of us who despised sax guy in the original.)

*The sign outside the Frog Brothers' surfboard-shaping and vampire-hunting compound: You Are Not Invited In.

*Aunt Jillian shows up to spend quality time with the siblings, bringing along a copy of The Goonies. (And the dumbasses decide they'd rather go to a surfer party. )

*Edgar Frog ordained himself online and now makes his own holy water.

If you're looking for a lame, not particularly horrific horror movie, by all means watch The Tribe. But if you want a movie that's actually worth watching, stick with The Lost Boys. There's a reason why it's a classic while its sequel rots in the mire of direct-to-video releases.

Fang Files

Physical Appearance: Unlike the fairly subtle appearance of the vamps in the original movie, the vampires now have bumpy, scaly, veiny features (except for the girls--they still have to look cute), black eyes, and slightly less-prominent canines. Voices deepen and have a demonic quality to them. Their eyes turn red when communicating telepathically.

Strengths: Super speed, super strength (both of which seem to disappear when it comes to fighting the unarmed hero). Ability to fly. Ability of head vampire to call out telepathically to vampires they've created (or at least the girl they've got the hots for).

Weaknesses: Holy water, crosses, sunlight, garlic. Any object that can pierce their heart will kill a vampire.

Mythology: Vampires need to be invited in and have no reflection. Vampires die in differing and dramatic ways (their deaths often involve exploding and/or projectile blood vomiting). Being bitten or drinking the blood of a head vampire will turn a human into a half vampire; killing a human will turn a half vampire into a full vampire. Killing the head vampire before half vampires feed for the first time will revert all half vampires back to humans.

Sound Bites

Shane: (to Chris) You should come, meet the rest of the guys. They're killer.

Vampire Jon: Saltwater and blood are basically the same thing. [This is followed by a long explanation, leaving this viewer wondering why vampires don't just drink saltwater then.]

Edgar Frog: (wielding a pair of crosses/stakes) Hey! Who ordered the stake?

Edgar Frog: I'm warning you.
Sam: Hey, I'm trembling.


Read my previous reviews:

The Lost Boys

Reign of Frogs #1

Reign of Frogs #2

Reign of Frogs #3

Reign of Frogs #4

Lost Boys: The Tribe. Written by Hans Rodionoff. Directed by P.J. Pesce. From Warner.

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