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Adam Jahnke - Main Page

Brotherhood of Blood

Brotherhood of Blood
2007 (2008) - Lionsgate/Ghost House Underground

The vampire story has come a long way since Bram Stoker first introduced Dracula to the world back in 1897. With only a few exceptions, the trend these days is to focus on vampire society. It's no longer enough for there to simply be one vampire causing terror and wreaking havoc. These days, the vampire travels in packs, part of its own sub-culture. While this can be occasionally interesting, done too often it renders the vampire, if you'll pardon the pun, toothless. If there are so many vampires, all capable of pretty much the same thing, why do any of them bother to follow orders? And how can anybody doubt their existence if there are so many of them?


Brotherhood of Blood is another of the new breed of vampire-gang pictures and it at least attempts to come up with a novel premise. Victoria Pratt stars as a member of a team of vampire hunters that stays fiscally solvent by cashing in on their prey's worldly goods. She gets word that the brother of a rich businessman may have turned on a trip to Transylvania, so she sets her sights on tracking him down. As it happens, the vamps have their own reasons for wanting this guy. It seems he's the reincarnation of Vlad Kossel, a kind of supervampire so powerful that the humans and vamps teamed up hundreds of years ago to take him out. But for some reason, nobody seems all that interested in a truce this time out and everyone ends up working against each other in their efforts to stop Vlad.

Writer-directors Michael Roesch and Peter Scheerer tell their story with a fractured timeline a la Reservoir Dogs for no discernable reason. We're thrown into the action with nary an explanation and the cliffhanger ending is so abrupt you might get whiplash. It's kind of like coming into a mediocre comic book series with issue #3. There's very little set-up and no resolution and there's nothing compelling enough to make you want to continue with the series. It's fun to see Sid Haig as the vampire leader Pashek and Ken Foree has some nice moments as a captured vampire, although he spends most of his time chained to a table. But most of Brotherhood of Blood is truly tedious. It posits the "Who is Vlad Kossel" theme as a big mystery but I've played games of Clue that were more difficult to figure out. Roesch and Scheerer are colleagues of critical punching bag Uwe Boll and in their defense, this is actually better than anything I've seen from Herr Boll. Then again, 95% of all movies ever made are better than anything directed by Uwe Boll, so take that faint praise for what little it's worth.

Brotherhood of Blood is part of the first wave of Ghost House Underground titles from Lionsgate. It looks and sounds about average for a movie of this size and scope, nothing spectacular but not awful. Extras are less interesting here than they were for Dance of the Dead, another Ghost House Underground title. The behind-the-scenes featurette runs all of five minutes, so there's not a whole lot of useful information that can be crammed into that running time. The cast interviews with Victoria Pratt, Sid Haig and Ken Foree and brief, facile and excerpted in the previous featurette. There's a storyboard-to-screen comparison which is kind of nice and Roesch, Scheerer and Haig contribute a commentary. Haig realizes early on that the German co-directors probably aren't going to say much if they aren't prodded so he's a welcome presence here. There are some fun factoids, including the fact that the movie was shot on the same soundstage David Lynch used for Inland Empire, but the conversation isn't compelling enough to make it worth a listen unless you really loved the movie.

Brotherhood of Blood is not the worst horror movie I've ever seen or even the worst vampire flick. It's not nearly incompetent or ridiculous enough to be at that level. It's something even less forgivable, extremely dull and forgettable. Truly awful movies can be perversely entertaining in their own way. With Brotherhood of Blood, you just kind of wonder why you're wasting your time bothering to watch it in the first place.

Film Rating: D+
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B-/B-/C


Adam Jahnke
ajahnke@thedigitalbits.com


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