While I did really enjoy the original vampire film from David Slade based on the award winning graphic novel from Steve Niles, it wasn’t a masterpiece. Though everything about it was very tight and sharp, the film just didn’t end up being the groundbreaking game changer it promised. Not surprising, it spawned an inevitable sequel and thanks to the uselessness of vampires who are menacing monsters (Thank you Stephanie Meyer), this sequel entitled “Dark Days” is Direct to DVD fodder that is about as routine as you’d expect for a sequel to a major horror film that came and went before anyone knew who Steve Niles was.
“Dark Days” sets down after the events of the first film (sans any of the original cast) and features the character of Stella from the original movie returning. Standing in for the sheer beauty of Melissa George, we have Kiele Sanchez who is cut in to the final scene of the original film in place of George. One of the most admirable aspect of the original film was that the vampires were monsters. They were dirty disgusting monsters who tore through victims with blood stained mouths and took lust out of mutilating people. At one point we even see a vampire munching on a small girl. Here the vampires are sexualized just as I feared. The vampire minions are dressed as German art students with sunglasses and suits and leather, while we learn their leader is in fact a queen vampire named–wait for it–Lilith!
That’s new, isn’t it? It’s never Margaret the vampire queen or Estelle the vampire queen. Lilith is of course played by Mia Kirschner and is sexuality incarnate resembling an Isabella Rosallini fan girl bathing in bathtubs of blood and parading in robes as her minions go back and forth reporting news to her about Stella. What point Lilith serves to the overall narrative of the movie is never explained, especially since we’re told in the original that the vampires are clans led by one, and suddenly we’re told Lilith orchestrates everything. So what’s the point of walking around naked? As for Stella, she has taken it upon herself to leave Barrow, and engage in seminars warning people about the vampires. Why? How did she get this idea? What happened to the other survivors in Barrow? What was she hoping to gain by hosting these seminars?
Nevertheless she’s a joke and she lets people in on this secret by fishing out the vampires in the audience with conveniently placed UV lights that makes for a good prologue but makes no sense when applied to the rest of the story. Surprise, surprise Stella is not alone and she’s visited by three grieving vampire hunters, all of whom inject her in to the group to fish out Lilith and put an end to her terror, now that she’s discovered a way to bring back the undead, and is planning something humongous. “Dark Days” wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t so damn dull to sit through, and that’s probably based on the low budget. We’re only given sporadic vampire attacks here and there, and beyond that there’s endless dialogue, a pointless sex scene, and a horrible plot device concerning one of the vampires who has miraculously tamed his wild urges and works with the group.
Folks like Harold Parrineau and Diora Baird are wasted, and “Dark Days” saps all of the carnage and chaos from the original film and turns it in to another stock vampire flick with nothing new to offer audiences. Save for a rather disturbing throat ripping scene, “Dark Days” is a huge bust with a final scene that is such a terrible rip-off of “Pet Cemetery” I was beyond disgusted. I really did want to give “Dark Days” the benefit of the doubt and hoped to be entertained and shocked in to believe this idea was ripe with potential for new characters, but I’m promptly proven wrong with a film prominent with a lagging pace, a dull atmosphere, lack of real scares, and a plot filled with holes and lapses in logic.