Avia: Vampire Hunter (2005)
Starring Allison Valentino, Rodney "Kamal" Jackson
Written & Directed by Leon Hunter
Quoting directly from the back of the DVD box:
"Avia: Vampire Hunter is an original fast pace horror/thriller with a nasty twist."
#1) There is absolutely nothing original about a young, female vampire slayer.
#2) The only way this film moves at a fast pace is if you push the fast forward button.
#3) You can’t have a nasty twist if you don’t have a plot.
It dawned on me about 40 minutes in that there had yet to be anything resembling an actual plot. The majority of Avia: Vampire Hunter consists of the title character wandering around neighborhoods looking for vampires to kill in much the same way one would search the neighborhood for their missing dog. In fact, not only does most of the movie consist of the lead character meandering around aimlessly, even her dream sequences consist of her wandering around aimlessly.
I fully understand that writer/director Leon Hunter is a first-time filmmaker, but that only excuses so much. For goodness sake, the film boasts the most staggering overuse of the fade in/fade out technique I’ve ever seen. Not only does every single scene conclude with a fade out, he even uses fade outs during the scenes. One scene-ending fade out left the film in black for nearly 15 seconds. I honestly thought for a second there that they had forgot to include the rest of the movie on the DVD. I should be so lucky.
The only thing he overuses more than the fade in/fade out is the dramatic sound of a heart beating, something he utilizes whenever he wants to convey just how suspenseful a moment should be. I assure you that sound is the only way you’d know the scene in question was meant to be suspenseful.
Mr. Hunter also loves montages. I mean he loooooooooooves montages. It doesn’t matter if it’s a montage of Avia looking for vampires or training to fight them, he hits us with one montage after another. The first half of the film is practically a series of montages. The montage that best sums up the movie as a whole is one of Avia casually lurking about in search of possible vampire dwellings accompanied by a musical score that sounds better suited for a tension-filled action sequence. You got music blasting away like it’s the William Tell Overture and all she’s doing is nothing more than slowly walking down a flight on concrete stairs and shining a flashlight into a dark place.
I should mention that the score is by the Philharmonic Orchestra of London. Seeing as how the score often doesn’t match the mood of the scene I’m led to believe someone just shelled out the rights to use some of their music and didn’t actually commission them to provide an original score.
Avia: Vampire Hunter opens with two detective investigating a crime scene. No sooner do they arrive, our heroine shows up dressed like Lisa Loeb and claiming to be a government agent or something like that. She flashes them a fake badge that wouldn’t even fool a kindergartener. These two detectives also don’t find anything odd about the huge samurai sword she lugs around with her. Next thing you know, they’re in the attic of a nearby house getting ambushed by vampires.
Afterwards, she tells one of the detectives the sad tale of how her family was murdered by vampires and how she’s now hunting the vampire responsible and killing off any other vampires that cross her path. This somehow leads to romance between the two. The next scene has them eating dinner together and discussing vampires. All of a sudden, they’re making out, and this leads to what may very well be the sorriest excuse for a love scene ever put to film. They’re fully clothed, barely moving, and the actress playing Avia looks like she’d rather be anywhere but there.
The rest of the movie consists of the two inexplicable lovebirds sitting around discussing vampire lore (most of which you can barely make out because the score is so loud it drowns out the dialogue), montages of Avia either training or wandering about in search of vampires, Avia’s numerous dream sequences that also consist of her doing little more than wandering about, and Avia getting into very brief skirmishes with random vampires featuring fight choreography I dare say is worse than what you’d see watching elementary school kids on a playground recreating their favorite scenes from Revenge of the Sith.
That nasty twist, or at least what I think is supposed to be the nasty twist; remember that episode of "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer" where Buffy kept waking up in a mental institution where she was led to believe that it was all really in her mind? It’s along those lines, introducing the possibility that she hasn’t been killing vampires but innocent people instead. The end of the movie even features a voiceover of her saying she isn’t completely sure how much is real and how much is in her head. I assure you that the twist is utterly implausible, especially when her newfound detective boyfriend begins to doubt her even though he’s already seen a vampire with his own eyes.
We don’t even get any real explanation as to why some vampires look like guys in scary Halloween masks, others look like something out of a Hong Kong fantasy film, and the rest look like zombies with fangs. Avia finally finds the vampire she’s been searching for and we know nothing about him or why he looks like a pro wrestler that does a vampire gimmick, yet we’re supposed to give a damn whether or not she wins defeats him in mortal combat?
This is not an actual movie. There’s nothing here. There is no actual movie here. Avia: Vampire Hunter is nothing more than a collection of random scenes connected to one another by only the basic concept of the plot and not by any actual developing plotline. This compounded with the non-actors incapable of emoting, a score that often overpowers what little dialogue there is, endless amount of filler material, and action scenes that are amateurishly choreographed, poorly shot, and devoid of even the slightest bit of excitement or urgency. I suspect if one were to cut out most of the filler and edit down the rest of the scenes that go on far too long without amounting to anything then the movie would have clocked in at roughly under 15 minutes in length.
How the hell does crap like this get distribution? You can’t even fall back on the blood and boobs explanation since there’s not a whole lot of the first and none of the latter. I simply cannot fathom why any company would waste their resources putting out a movie as pitiful as this. Sure, we’re talking about York Entertainment, and let’s be honest, they’re barely a legitimate company these days. They value their product and their customers so much that they don’t even provide menus or chapter stops on their DVD’s anymore.
If there is any one positive thing that can come from Avia: Vampire Hunter it would be the hope it can give any novice filmmaker out there that they too can find distribution for their movie no matter how amateurish it might be.
0 out of 5 Mugs O' Blood
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