Movie Reviews 83 – Quad Pack: Dark Town (2004)

DVD quad packI love picking up those cheap DVD boxes that have four movies (or as I like to call them “quad packs”) for some ridiculously low price, usually for five bucks. Can’t go wrong really. These are all B-movies (or worse) but every now and then you find a true gem in these waste bins of filmdom.

Since picking up a few of these in the past I’ve noticed that there is a distinct subcategory to some of these quad packs and this particular pack I want to review now fits right into that meld; movies with notable stars and/or directors that really didn’t make the cut to theatrical release (or that presumably bombed if it ever got to the big screen).

This pack contains Dark Town, Godsend, Bruiser, and Modern Vampires and I’ll be posting individual reviews for each of the four movies in this pack. I’ve seen this same DVD sold where Romero’s Bruiser is replaced by Romero’s Martin. Not sure why that is, but those sets are more common than this one. But enough of that, let’s start off with a review of

Dark Town (2004)

Dark TownDark Town is essentially a vampire movie that wanders into the realm of, and exploits the zombie infestation motif that has been so popular in the media this past decade. It starts out with a man being attacked while checking out his warehouse one night. We are then introduced to his dysfunctional family who are awaiting his return for his own birthday party. But before we can get to know them any better we are whisked into the lives of a whole bunch of  other characters, the first being a trio of neighborhood boys who find themselves in a shootout between two rivals gangs, followed by a pair of lesbian lovers sharing a few moments of intimacy before heading out for the night. The problem is that while all of these characters are tied together in some manner and all end up together during some part of the movie, their introductions are awkward and very confusing to the story line. The fact that some of those connections are based on some highly improbable circumstances just makes matters worse. I’ll give the movie makers an A for trying, but an F for execution on this one aspect.

At some point in the evening ‘daddy’ does make it home and starts infecting (ie ‘turning’) members of his family. Incredulously some of those ‘turns’ are effectuated by a thermos of blood that he brought home and was drunk by family members more concerned about wanting to verify that this was not booze he was drinking. They seemed blissfully unaware that they’ve just drank blood, the wife going so far as to stating that the blood tasted pretty good. I’m pretty sure a gag reflex would have been the more realistic reaction.

Anyhow, the family is soon joined by the young boys and a sister one of the boys. They break into the families home but it is not a random break in and has something to do about one of the boys being a ‘big brother’ to a now deceased kid who was somehow killed by the son of the family.Told you it was some convoluted link that is both silly and confusing. But there are guns being bandied about and pretty soon the boys are being hunted by those family members who have been turned into vampires. As the people scatter out of the house we learn that the entire neighborhood is quickly turning into a veritable swarm.

The main characters in all this is the elder lesbian daughter (Janet Martin) and one of the intruding boys (Delpaneaux Wills) who together try to stave of the fate of the others and hold back ‘turning’ themselves using sheer will power with varying degrees of success. While the notion is silly I did find myself enjoying and anticipating the outcome of this one aspect, largely attributable the acting abilities of these two. Sadly, according to IMDB, Janet Martin seems to have only made this one movie

Most of the FX are good and fun, but the director opted to overuse those annoying momentary ‘flash’ scenes that come out of nowhere showing some dim bloodsplattered horrendous scene for a few seconds. Those are OK on occasion but in this case it was way too often and for much longer than a few annoying seconds.

While the movie did have a slow and confusing start among other issues, it picks up and does have a degree of novelty to offer the viewer. In the end I would still give it a thumbs up, but just barely so.

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