VAMPIRES: THE TURNING
Vampires: The Turning cycles through many of the cliches that have become familiar to the modern vampire film warring factions of vampires, innocent humans caught in the midst, the battle to save someones love before they become fully vampire, a coming event and/or artefact that will change the balance of power, a vampire prime, organised teams of vampire hunters. The vampires go through the snarling, teeth baring and roaring thing that has become an overused effect among modern vampire movies. The one thing that director Marty Weiss adds to the mix is a good many Bullet Time effects something else that is starting to become a vampiric cliche as well as more than a few martial arts moves borrowed from the wirework of Hong Kong cinema, which are competent but never anything standout.
The main problem with Vampires: The Turning is that Marty Weiss is a director of flourish and effect more than he ever is of narrative. Weiss places much emphasis on soft focus style he has a great sense for coloured lighting schemes and throws up various posed martial arts and Bullet Time action sequences. The first half of Vampires: The Turning is almost entirely carried by these mood and action set-pieces but often has little in terms of narrative drive. These scenes sit aside others that topple into the risibly silly such as where the vampires attack the patrons at a nightclub en masse. At one point, Marty Weiss choreographs a long extended motorcycle sequence through the streets and markets that climaxes on the rather preposterous moment where the bike ridden by Colin Egglesfield and Stephanie Chao jumps between the second stories of two buildings followed by a pursuing vampire who explodes into flame as he emerges into the sunlight.
Certainly, the latter half of the film introduces some more substantial, if never entirely original, ideas like the idea of a war between two clans of vampires, one that has foresworn blood drinking, the other that revels in it; the notion that killing a vampire renders all those that have been sired from its blood mortal. There is the by now cliche image that an eclipse represents the moment when vampires can walk in both sunlight and darkness at the same time. Although the idea of returning to the place that the vampire was originally turned is an obvious plot contrivance surely this is something that any vampire, in knowing the importance this would have, would keep as a secret to themselves. In the end, we have a story that might have been interesting but feels like it needed to have been drawn out across a much larger canvas than the medium-low budget that Vampires: The Turning has been made with.
The film is also hampered by weak casting. Colin Egglesfield has a physicality in the action scenes but is Neanderthal and non-expressive in looks and acting talent he doesnt exactly come across as the brightest hero in the world. Nor does Stephanie Chao project much into her character. She has some very mildly erotic love scenes during Colin Egglesfields transformation but lacks much in the way of presence, certainly not for a character of the stature that she is said to have. The great and underrated Patrick Bauchau, the only recognisable name in the cast, is underused.
Director Marty Weiss subsequently went onto make the horror film Backwoods (2008).