RISE: VAMPIRE HUNTER
While Ghost Houses other films have all enjoyed a reasonably high profile and cinematic releases, Rise only received a brief theatrical release in the US and was dumped to dvd in most areas. This is a disappointment as the surprise about watching Rise is that it is one of the better of Ghost Houses films. Sebastian Gutierrez certainly holds ones attention with an unusual atmosphere. The story, when eventually seen, is nothing too different from many other vampire films, but Gutierrez draws us in with his evocatively stylish telling and aura of cool sophistication.
Gutierrez gives us a captivating opening where Lucy Liu hires a hooker (Cameron Richardson) and takes her to a Hollywood mansion with the seeming intent of enjoying her services and asks her to take a shower, whereupon the bars of the shower suddenly enclose and trap the woman and Lucy reveals she has brought her as a victim for the wheelchair-ridden vampire Allan Rich to trade for the whereabouts of her nemesis. The tables of expectation are again turned when Lucy returns and shoots the wheelchair-bound vampire with a crossbow bolt and frees the girl. Gutierrez even throws in a unnecessary if effective scene, undeniably influenced by recent Japanese horror hits, where Michael Chiklis is at home and a bloodied hand takes forever to creep around the edge of the doorframe and then he sees a blood-covered girl get up off the bed and turn around, before this is revealed to be a dream.
I am still undecided as to whether Lucy Liu is an actress of merit or one who will be forgotten after her five minutes in the spotlight are over. Certainly, the diminutive Liu is not the first person that comes to mind when it comes to conceiving of a gun and crossbow-toting heroine intent on revenge although to her credit she does competently in the part. The always reliable Michael Chiklis gives a convincing and well rounded performance as the detective. James DArcy makes for a nicely soft-spoken vampire villain. There is an appealingly sympathetic performance from Carla Gugino (Sebastian Gutierrezs girlfriend) as one of the vampire cabal, but she gets too little screen time to be effective. There is a brief performance from Holt McCallany who is effectively threatening as a supposed neighbour who turns up at the apartment Lucy Liu is investigating and then abruptly refers to her by name.