Look, here's a confession: I've never thought much of the "cult classic" vampire flick The Lost Boys. As a horror movie it's about as scary as a Whitesnake video and as a regular flick it's about as compelling as a perfume commercial. I know the film has all sorts of late-'80s nostalgia value and all that jazz -- but I'll stick with Near Dark and leave The Lost Boys for what it is: The Top Gun of the horror genre. (Not a compliment.) So when I started hearing word about a year ago that Warner Bros. was finally dusting off The Lost Boys to give it a two-decade too-late sequel push, I thought "Hmm, that's got ?Blockbuster shelf? written all over it." A few months later, WB proved me right by announcing that Lost Boys: The Tribe would arrive as part of the "Warner Premiere" line -- which is a fancy way of saying "direct to video."
But hell, the last several months have given us a few video sequels that were pretty solid, so (despite all logic) I attempted to sit down to watch Lost Boys 2 with an open mind. "At the very least it could be a dumb-fun horror flick," is sort of what I thought. And then I hit PLAY.
The flick opens with four surfer dudes who speak in nothing but flat profanity and grating sarcasm as they devour a vampire played by Tom Savini. If I told you the movie got no better than this paltry epilogue, you'd think I was exaggerating. You'd be wrong. Hans Rodionoff''s witless screenplay lurches along like a Lost Boys remake that was written by someone who only vaguely remembers the original Lost Boys, but refuses to re-watch it because it's too artsy. Anyway, two very boring youths arrive in a seaside town that everyone KNOWS is overrun with vampires, they're charged RENT by their loving auntie (enjoy, it's a running gag), and then they go to a party: Boring Boy A hooks up with Vampire Slut 1, while Boring Girl A hooks up with Head Vampire Alpha Male X. Then on the way home, our heroine pukes all over the floor, before Vamp-Slut shows up to get skewered on some antlers (gee, that's familiar...), and then we're stuck knee-deep in Boring Junction (Population: Dumb): Lead boring kid must convince the authorities that's something's amiss (he can't), which forces him to deal with the evil surfing vampires on his own terms.
Frankly if there's anything in that last paragraph that sounds interesting to you, then I have a list of 450 horror movies you need to watch before you ever consider wasting four bucks and two hours on this powerfully inept afterthought of a non-sequel. It's really incredible how sloppy this thing is. For example, keep your eyes and ears awake for the early scene at the party. As our two heroes converse with the bartender, pay attention (not even close attention) to the stunningly bad ADR recording, as if someone decided at the very last second (like, a day before the DVD was pressed) that the bartender needed to be really vulgar, nasty, and unpleasant -- probably to keep him the same tone as every other character in the movie. Or maybe focus your sights (forgive me) on the bizarre supporting performance by Corey Feldman, returning here as "Edgar Frog," some sort of brain-dead vampire killer. For some reason Feldman is employing a lot of extra gravel in his voice, and it makes his every scene sound like a bunch of kids playing "backyard vampire chasers." Amateurish stuff.
In some sort of misguided effort to appeal to what a board-room somewhere called "what the kids LOVE," Lost Boys 2 features blood-suckers who love not only surfing, but (get this!) skateboarding and motorbikes! They're extreeeeeme vampires! All I needed to see was one can of Mountain Dew and I would have put my extreme foot through the screen. Watch in amazement as leading man Tad Hilgenrinck ... watches vampires ... do wheelies. Whooo! Director P.J. Pesce frames his action with all the slo-mo and missing-frame artistry that one could ever hope for. The good news is that Pesce could probably use this whole movie as a fine promo reel if he wants work in Canadian TV commercials -- but I think the procedure is actually supposed to go the other way around. As far as a director's other responsibilities -- an interesting story, compelling characters, some sort of internal energy that might actually keep an audience from falling asleep four times in nine minutes -- yeah, there's none of that. And you simply haven't lived until you've seen these vampires MOCK the local police through use of extreme loitering and downright rudeness. Seriously, what the HELL am I watching here?
Here's one of the film's cleverer lines. It comes from the clueless aunt who has no idea what's going on: "Partying all night. Sleeping all day. You're acting like a pair of vampires." Again, one of the film's cleverer lines. And that's not at all clever. For a running gag, the vampires like to run up to each other and slice one another's guts out. Fake-looking sausages pour onto the set while the actors whine about "Aw, dude, not cooool!" I can sense that it's supposed to be funny the same way I can sense that insects could be my food if they had to be, but oddly enough I still don't feel like laughing. (Or eating.) And I won't even touch the soundtrack -- which sounds like a bunch of Warrant and Skid Row tracks that somehow never got released back in the glory days of awful rock music -- except to say that the music is as rotten as the rest of the movie, so let's at least hear it for consistency.
As the lead vampire, Angus Sutherland (yes, Kiefer's brother, and how's that for a clever casting decision?) wanders through the arid tale looking like a surfer version of Jesus -slash- Jon Bon Jovi who talks like Keanu Reeves with a mouthful of marbles. I certainly don't want to be cruel or dismissive to anyone in the same family as Donald and Kiefer Sutherland, but wow. Wow. If "gimmick casting" is so important that it can forgive a talent-void like this one, then nobody is safe. Somone get Keanu Reeves' big sister an agent. Aside from Sutherland and Higenbrinck, nobody is given more than six lines of dialog better than "Screw you, FAG," "Ouch, run!," or "How ya like that, BITCH?" As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure that every word in this film that is over three syllables comes directly from the first Lost Boys movie. And then there's Corey Feldman. Man oh man. 'Nuff said.
I'd call it all a shame and a disappointment if I actually thought Lost Boys: The Tribe was either of these things. The flick is not a disappointment, because it's precisely the cheap-end, cash-grab non-movie I expected it to be, and it's not a shame because Warner Bros got precisely what they wanted: An inexpensively-made video product that they can market the hell out of and re-package as a 2-discer with The Lost Boys. So I guess it's up to us to decide if we reward such behavior with our hard-earned fifteen bucks and our valuable life-minutes.
Obviously you know what my vote is.
Also included on the DVD is a four-minute featurette that's about as worthwhile as the movie, something called "Edgar Frog's Guide to Coming Back Alive," which life is simply too short to withstand, a pair of alternate endings (and yet they stuck with a SITCOM GAG for the real ending), and four music videos that sound like a cheese grater having sex with a cat.
Front-runner for worst horror DVD of 2008. Undisputed Winner of the Pointless Afterthought of a Resurrection Award of 2008.