When The Forsaken first came out, a lot of people and even more critics panned the film. Sure, maybe it did not bring anything really new to the table, but what vampire films did at this point in time? And yes, maybe the acting was a little over-the-top at times, but this movie could fit right in with other horror films of the period like Thirteen Ghosts or Jeepers Creepers. Also, while not one hundred percent wholly original, it is a solid little action-thriller/horror hybrid that delivers upon the inherent promise of its genre – some blood, some guts, some nudity, some violence and of course, a few chills here and there. Really, what more could you ask for in a movie that, boiled right down to it, is about good guys and bad guys? Sometimes you just have to take something for what it is.
The film finds Kerr Smith as Sean, hitting the road to deliver a car so he can make enough cash to attend his sister’s wedding. Along the way he picks up Nick, as portrayed by Brendan Fehr, and that is when things start to turn for the worse. They eventually run into a vampire named Kit played by Johnathon Schaech and as it turns out that it is the same vampire that Fehr is hunting. Why? To sum it up, Nick was bitten by one a while back and living to tell the tale, he has decided to hunt them down and eradicate them. Soon everything comes to a head as Kit realizes what Sean and Nick are up to and he does not intend to go down easy, if at all.
Out of all the actors present in the film, Kerr Smith shines brightest. He is quite believable as the hapless, everyday Joe. He has no idea what he is getting into or what to do at any given time really, and Smith’s performance really puts that across. On the flipside, Brendan Fehr has moments where you think he is what he claims to be, while during the rest of the film he just looks like he is going through the motions. Fehr, having starred in the WB series Roswell, almost seems to be reproducing a similar version of the lonely, outsider character he played on the show. As such, it is a little hard to take him seriously. Out of everybody, Johnathon Schaech is the worst. It is hard to picture him as a vampire, or even one that is supposed to be scary. Whether he is just trying to be a badass or when he is fighting or killing people, the fact that his hair always remains perfect and he looks he has just stepped out of a GQ catalogue is ridiculous. Last but not least, Izabella Miko stars as the damsel in distress. She has few lines, instead being in this film only to provide the needed amount of eye-candy for the male viewing audience to which she succeeds admirably. It would have been nice to see her do something else though.
Well, this was no Dracula by any means, but it did provide a fair amount of entertainment. J.S. Cardone’s directing was good, better than his script which could have had some stronger dialogue, but overall the story was at least interesting as he tried to envision a big, epic tale for these vampires. The fact of the matter is, with a bigger budget and some better actors he might have accomplished this. The Forsaken is, by all accounts, just your average horror film with nothing really raising it above what it is. It is enjoyable as a whole and actually quite fun though, with enough suspense and action to keep you hooked until the end, just do not expect the a reinvention of the genre with this film.