Saturday, 7 March 2009

Against the Dark


Directed by: Richard Crudo
Written by: Matthew Klickstein
Starring: Steven Seagal, Tanoani Reed, Linden Ashby & Keith David

Steven Seagal Vs Vampires in another direct-to-video misfire: surely this is no good? Well, actually it kinda is and it’s more like Seagal Vs Zombies as the mutants onscreen are much more akin to the walking dead than pointy teeth neck botherers. Now Against the Dark is cheap exploitation that isn’t gonna win Seagal any new fans or wipe away all his other direct-to-DVDs atrocities but it has something all those others don’t: a sense of fun. It’s also packed with zombie slaying action and blood spewing gore.

The world has gone tits up, a virus sending everyone bonkers and with an unquenchable need to feast on human flesh. Survivors hole up in abandoned buildings, trying to avoid the gut munchers while Seagal and The Rock’s real life stunt double and cousin (Reed) lead a group of slayers (the other members being two hot babes: sweet) roam the city killing the undead. Conveniently they all converge on an abandoned hospital and try to stave off wave after wave of undead dudes while Linden ‘Mortal Kombat’ Ashby and Keith ‘They Live’ David (whoa, where’d those guys come from?!) hang out in a tent trying to decide whether to nuke the city or not.

While Seagal will probably never scale the entertaining heights of action classics like Marked for Death and Out for Justice ever again this is probably his most fun direct-to-DVD flick. He isn’t in it much (which probably increases the fun factor) and still suffers from the obligatorily awful doubling and dialogue but he shows up enough to swing a samurai sword and blast baddies away with a shotgun. Reed instead takes lead in most of the big fight scenes featuring in a barnstorming set piece where he takes out a mob of undead by throwing them into walls and blowing them up with grenades. The action, and the rest of the film, may be fairly sloppy but it’s directed with gory gushing glee, it makes up for all the shortcomings. Mercifully using very little CGI the film has a very bare bones and practical feel to it which adds to the old school action fun it supplies. The action and attacks rarely let up and despite being set pretty much in one building Against the Dark still moves fast and is reminiscent of many a direct-to-video action/horror hybrids from the 1990s. This is no bad thing.

The Blade franchise has nothing to worry about in terms of competition and those of you who are into the vamp world of Angel and Buffy probably won’t appreciate it but if you are in the mood for blood soaked, action packed trash Against the Dark is worth chomping down on. Who’d have though the pony-tailed one’s best film in ages would feature vamp…I mean zombies?

1 comment:

FILMNUT1 said...

What you notice about this movie is how none of the strands really gel. It's a bit like a Godfrey Ho movie or the Mr X thing with Joe Lewis.

The scenes with Seagal's team have nothing much to do with the story of the main ensemble. I think there are only one or two moments where he shares scenes with the other members of the main cast.

Most notably this happens in a scene with the little girl who played his daughter in Shadow Man.

The scenes with his Marked for Death co-star are even more blatantly grafted on. They're there soley to try and build some tension and provide a reason for a big explosion at the end. And to give the movie a touch more production value.

Director Crudo was a cinematographer on a couple of Seagal movies and it was made by his company, Steamroller, and I think his associates simply convinced him to let them splice some scenes of him in (as well as some action with Tanoi Reed) to make an otherwise forettable horror film potentially lucrative.

It worked.

Another fascinating mess of a film!