Crimson (2007)

crimlong3Ah, good deeds. Don’t believe the hype folks. Sure it’s good for your karma, but it will inevitably come back to kick your ass every now and then. Have you ever heard the term “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished”? That’s the basic premise behind the short feature film from Richard Poche who builds his entire story around this chestnut that couldn’t prove any truer. “Crimson” is the story of women performing a good deed, and inevitably getting much more than they bargained for, and I have to tell you that I was admittedly excited upon viewing what Poche had to offer. And surely enough, Poche has an appealing visual style that makes “Crimson” a constantly vibrant production.

His cinematography from the murky blacks to deep reds bounce off of the screen, and his world is very void of any emotion or actual soul, which is apt when the story begins taking motion. “Crimson” looks fantastic and has a plot with definite potential that sets itself very much in the vein of “The Thing,” and “Lost Boys.” I wish I would have loved “Crimson,” but in the end there weren’t too much good vibes coming from me. I left the movie basically lukewarm, wanting so much more and really only getting a series of clichés and bad one-liners. Poche can never really seem to know what kind of movie he’s making and that becomes apparent as the movie constantly changes tones throughout the narrative. Sometimes it borders on complete horror with Poche sometimes competently injecting a sense of urgency and tension, while other times there’s dialogue like “You’re really becoming a pain in the neck!” which hints that maybe Poche couldn’t quite inject the humor he wanted.

Even as a jab at the material it’s still a pretty cheesy one-liner and it rips you from the narrative immediately. “Crimson” has too many plot devices to really enjoy and for the most part while Poche’s efforts are obvious, the story never unfolds as it should. We never learn enough about our female characters other than the fact that they love to party and are nurses. The nurse device becomes a constant plot point, but one of no use, throughout the movie. For a bunch of women who are off duty nurses they sure act incredibly opposite to what a nurse usually acts like. I mean, they’re nurses and yet when someone is in trouble they immediately opt to run away from a crime scene, they hesitate to treat the attack victim Sammi who is lying in a ditch, they don’t call the authorities as soon as they find her even after we see one of them talking on a cell phone, they take her home rather than treat her at a hospital which would be the obvious and logical next step for nurses, they don’t bandage her wounds considering they seem pretty deep and severe upon her discovery from the vampire attack, they leave her alone to clean herself up in a bathroom and no one is watching her, and in spite of being confronted by the lead vampire at a doorstep, they STILL go out to use a payphone.

Meanwhile, they’re incredibly unorganized and really fail in selling the nurse aspect for the audience. These women are saps and they could have been taxi drivers for all I knew. Erika Smith is the absolute highlight of the cast here providing a great and memorable performance as the head vampire bitch Rachel who seeks to get her property when it’s taken from her and will do anything she can to achieve her mission before daylight. Smith really has a lot of room for a charismatic performance, and surely enough she’s the best performer among the cast. As for the head vampire Rachel, I was never sure what her plans were. Was she intent on killing or turning these women, if so why didn’t she just do it herself.

Hell, she was established as a powerful and slick vampire in the opening minutes and suddenly she can’t devise a way to separate these women. And why does Rachel rely so heavily on the character Sammi turning when she could easily have broken in and killed them all herself? I was never really sure about her goals and I wish there would have been more extrapolation on all the characters. Technically the film can be frustrating as the sound is often uneven and varies from time to time. Indoors the sound is so loud I had to lower my television, outdoors the voices are barely ever audible and require a volume raise, so you’re there for over an hour lowering and raising your television.

There’s also the editing which was rather clunky at times. Punches are blatantly pulled, and the choreography is barely seamless. The ending is much less satisfactory as I was hoping for as Poche takes a considerably interesting premise and really mires it into a heavy cliché of a finisher that’s respectfully ambiguous but still rather contrived, despite my best optimistic efforts. I appreciate the potential of the concept, I appreciate the visual style Richard Poche injects in his horror film, and I appreciate the performance from Erika Smith, but sadly “Crimson” isn’t a film I completely took to, in the end. It’s cliché, a bit rehashed, and the technical flaws bog it down rather considerably. Otherwise, it’s a good effort.