of Blood" DVD
of Blood" DVD cover
When you read a plot
synopsis for "Brotherhood of Blood", you might well
find it somewhat familiar. Doubly so if you're an enthusiastic
John Carpenter fan like myself who's acquainted with the source
See, when I read a
synopsis--which basically states, a group of vampire hunters must
penetrate a hive of the undead in order to rescue one of their
own--it wasn't hard for me to note a similarity or two between
that line and John Carpenter's Vampires, loosely based on the
Steakley novel Vampire$. It had always irritated me that Carpenter
didn't use the dollar sign in his title the way Steakley did,
but then it's not like the rest of the movie bore much resemblance
to the book anyway.
And though there are
plenty of similarities, there are also a pretty sizable number
of differences. In fact, for those of you who watch this and think,
wow, the whole Vlad Kossei thing sounds a LOT like Keyser Soze,
you're not alone. Yes, I too couldn't watch Brotherhood of Blood
without thinking about The Usual Suspects.
Sadly, few of these
differences are for the better. Where Vampires was a frenetic,
high-speed blood-soaked romp, Brotherhood of Blood is thin, slow
and overly chatty. Ken Foree spends most of his scenes tied to
a table. And normally vibrant and vicious heavy-extraordinaire
Sid Haig is downright anemic in this one, forced to deliver half-baked
rants and occasionally beg for his life to unseen forces.
In fact, anemic in
general is a great way to describe Brotherhood of Blood. Lacking
in both style and substance, it watches like something brought
in to round out a menu, something not necessarily awful but certainly
nothing great. This is doubly sad being as this is a part of the
new Sam Raimi / Ghost House Underground connection--frankly, it's
almost, but not quite, insulting.
The connection between
this and The Usual Suspects is clear and deliberate, as is evidenced
by the ending. The ending is almost the exact same as that of
Usual Suspects, right down to the last-minute realization. Okay,
we GET IT...it's the all-vampire production of The Usual Suspects.
Can they bludgeon us any harder with this concept?
The special features
include a commentary track, audio options, English and Spanish
subtitles, cast interviews, a behind the scenes featurette, a
storyboard to screen comparison, and trailers for Brotherhood
of Blood, Dance of the Dead, No Man's Land: The Rise of Reeker,
The Substitute, Dark Floors, Trackman, Room 205, and The Last
House in the Woods.
All in all, Brotherhood
of Blood is a slow, anemic mess that's thin on plot and weak in
sauce. The continual subreferences to The Usual Suspects certainly
don't help it any, leaving it a yawn from beyond the grave.
Directed by Peter Scheerer, Michael Roesch
Written by Peter Scheerer, Michael Roesch
Starring Victoria Pratt, Jason Connery, Ken Foree, Sid Haig
Produced by Mark Burman, Nicole Ackermann
Video Store Guy knows the best movies you've never seen. Check
his Reel Advice Tuesdays on Movieweb (www.movieweb.com)