Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.
Stupid man and his stupid progress. Dont they know how many thousands of species they wipe out in the name of progress? Take the rain forests of South America, for example. As millions of acres are cleared by men, they are simultaneously destroying the feeding grounds of hundreds of birds, insects and vampires. What? Its true. The South American rain forest is home to a tribe of vampires, a breed that can walk in the sun, isnt bothered by holy items, and for hundreds of years have been living off the animals native to their part of the world.
But once the rain forests are gone, the vampires slowly begin making their way toward more populated areas with an eye toward infiltrating civilization. Enter Hawk (Casper Van Dien, STARSHIP TROOPERS) and his team of American commandos.
After running afoul of the vampires six months earlier, Hawk learns that his ex-wife, Laurie (Jennifer ODell, The Lost World), is in the same area on a research expedition. Hawks commanding officer, Colonel Weaver (Lynda Carter, Wonder Woman), who also happens to be Lauries godmother, had sent a skeleton crew into the jungles to check out the area, and is now sending Hawks full platoon in as well. Hawk, knowing how serious the vampire problem is in that area, wants only to get Laurie and get back out of there. But when the vampires capture and turn Hawks best friend Grieves (Kevin Grevioux, UNDERWORLD), the monsters gain a military tactical advantage theyd never had before and things are suddenly much tougher for the experienced Hawk.
Laurie is captured by the vampires and used first as bait, then a bargaining chip against Hawk; whether Grieves or Hawk, the vampires dont care, but someone with their sort of training is necessary to lead them in order to achieve their goal of infiltrating the surrounding towns before moving on to even heavier populated areas.
2006s SLAYER is a Sci-Fi original movie (luckily it came out before all that stupid SyFy business started), from writer/director/producer/editor Kevin VanHook, who is also responsible for such Sci-Fi fair as THE FALLEN ONES and VOODOO MOON, neither of which Ive seen yet, but both are advertised on the SLAYER DVD and both look just as goofy as this one.
There is an innocent charm to movies like this. You know theyre bad movies, you know the plots are ridiculous, you know the characters are cardboard cutouts, you know the plot details like the traitorous best friend, the exes who still love each other and wind up together in the end, the badly-rendered CGI effects, hell even the not-so-subtle messages of how terribly man is ruining the planet, thus making it necessary that the monsters come out of hiding to balance the scales, all of these are standard plot by numbers details of these kinds of movies, but we cant help but watch them anyway. Sci-Fi Original movies have become what Roger Corman movies of the 50s and 60s were to their era, dumb innocent fun.
The acting is bad, especially from Kevin Grevioux who, while he looks menacing, Ive just never been able to take seriously as a bad guy. Each line feels like a struggle, as if speaking is a chore in itself. And, yes, I know Grevioux is all kinds of brilliant, holding a degree in microbiology, but that doesnt make it any less arduous a task when he starts reciting monologues about old bulls and young bulls.
Casper Van Dien puts his all-American looks to good use playing the Sci-Fi equivalent of GI-Joe without bothering to inject any sort of real personality, and Jennifer ODell as Dr. Laurie is everything Id come to expect from ODell after stellar performances in The Lost World. By that I mean lets move on.
Like I said, SLAYER is simple harmless fun. In fact, if it didnt have the look of a TV movie, it might have been a little more convincing and able to be taken seriously AS a movie. But with TV-quality stamped all over it, some of the suspension of disbelief is sucked out of it.
The script is laughable, while the fight choreography is stuck in the mid-80s and the special effects announce themselves with all the subtlety of a neon billboard. But still theres something about this movie, and movies like it, that you just cant hate on. I admit upfront SLAYER isnt a good movie, but that doesnt necessarily make it a bad one, either. Its got low budget sensibilities, but it knows that and is fine with it. SLAYER isnt trying to be anything its not, and I have to respect a movie that knows where its coming from and uses that to its advantage. With any luck this will never be an ongoing franchise that eventually spirals down into self-parody, but for a one-off original movie, Ive seen worse.
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Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older