Brotherhood of Blood (DVD)
Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Jason Connery, Ken Foree, Sid Haig, Victoria Pratt
Directed by Michael Roesch and Peter Scheerer
Distributed by Lionsgate Home Entertainment
What is it about German horror directors as of late? I know that there's talent there. There has to be. F.W. Murnau created one of the single greatest vampires the silver screen has ever known when Max Schreck donned the fangs as Graf Orlok in 1929's Nosferatu. On the strength of that film alone (which is just as powerful today), some residual mojo should be floating around their film scene. Well, if it is, it certainly wasn't wafting close enough to the directing team of Michael Roesch and Peter Scheerer when they were making Brotherhood of Blood. Let's start with the story.
A pair of brothers accidentally unleash the most vile and evil vampire who's ever walked the face of the Earth -- Vlad Kossei. Once he's loose, carnage immediately ensues as packs of vampire hunters are being decimated everywhere. This proves extremely troublesome for the last remaining group of do-gooders who quickly discover that the only way to stop this entity may be to join up with the vamps themselves.
Okay, so we have a cool (albeit cliché) premise and a pretty damned good cast to boot. Haig and Foree together again? Sign me up! So what went wrong? The direction. For whatever reason the duo chose to direct this film in as non-linear a way as possible. Scenes jump from two weeks ago to today to yesterday afternoon, etc. This muddles the action down and, if you're not paying really close attention, can come off as damned near incoherent. That's a shame, too, because there were some pretty good ideas lurking about in the script.
I will say, though, that seeing Sid and Ken playing vampires was lots of fun, and as you'd expect, they provide all of the movie's best moments. The only trouble? Both are under-used. They don't even have a scene together. I ask you ... how do you not arrange your shooting schedule to give them a scene together? It boggles the mind.
It should be noted that the movie was shot in just twelve days, and people were moving as fast as they could. For that I commend those involved for accomplishing what they did with such a small window though I still cannot help but feel that better direction would have lifted this one up to where it should have been.
The special features feel as rushed as the rest of the production. Other than a commentary with directors Michael Roesch and Peter Scheerer and actor Sid Haig (I bet you can't guess who steals the show here), all we get are five minutes of behind-the-scenes footage, some trailers, three cast interviews (Haig, Foree, and Pratt) which last about a minute each, and a storyboard-to-screen comparison.
Here's a tip for some filmmakers out there -- if you have well respected talent like Sid Haig and Kenn Foree in your movie, then make whatever concessions you have to as a means of keeping them in it as much as possible. Fans of those two genre greats will want to take the ride. Everyone else? Not so much.
2 1/2 out of 5
2 1/2 out 5
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