Aka True Bloodthirst, which sounds more like a ripoff than it actually is – this lifts a few licks from True Blood, but it also ideas cops from The Breed, Blade 2 and other sources. In the near future, a scrap in a Bucharest back alley between a winged Nosferatu-look vampire and a regular vamp over a rare blood type leads to a general acknowledgement that vampires do exist. A news montage explains that after an experiment with artificial blood doesn’t lead to integration, Romania creates a vampire ghetto and confines bloodsuckers to it.
After more dergradation of society, deaths of humans and vampires in the ghetto suggests that there’s something worse than a regular monster out there and a tough gang forms to go after them – hardboiled yank cop Derrick (Neil Jackson), softboiled Brit bureaucrat Innes-Bunchley (Jonathon Hargreaves), cage-fighting tattooed vampire hunter John Harker (Andrew Lee-Potts), his snarly sister Celeste (Heida Reed) and exotic dancer Katya (Claudia Bassols). They end up teamed with Nikolai (Ben Lambert), a pale and pretty liberal vampire whose brother has become one of the Nosferatu-type big bats … the result of poisoned synthetic blood which has spread the regressive taint through vampiredom ‘like an STD’. There are glimpses of a vampire society, with the usual elegant holdovers from the age of Vlad the Impaler’s Order of the Dragon, brutal or sexy club kids hanging out in a dingy disco and CGI unredeemable monsters … and an equally predictable thread as Harker and Nikolai sneer at each other a lot but come to some sort of mutual respect by saving each other’s lives (Nikolai eventually has to turn Celeste when she’s been mortally injured).
Really, it boils down to a bunch of tooled-up grunts in flak jackets wandering around Bulgarian tunnels, disused factories and back alleys firing off machine guns (mercury-filled bullets, because quicksilver is like silver) at flapping pixels. The main human villain, Kovacs (Roark Critchlow), is a politician (head of the Vampire Relations Bureau) trying to wipe out vampires with the mutagen poison – and not caring if a bunch of living folk die in the process – before the condition spreads beyond Romania. Lee-Potts is top-billed, but Jackson basically has the lead role – his personal backstory is that he had his own terminally ill wife turned into a vampire without her consent. I wondered whether Lee-Potts had initially been approached to play the British comedy guy and asked for the tough guy role instead – though, NB: he also played the original Jonathan Harker in a London stage production of Dracula.
It burbles along competently, but isn’t on a par with thematically comparable films like Daybreakers, Perfect Creature or The Breed and suffers when it struggfes for large-scale monster action it can’t really afford to deliver (yet again, CG flames look terrible). Moral- ‘it will probably get worse before it gets better, with humans and vampires living side by side’ Written by Rafael Jordan (Stonados) from a story by Jeffrey Green; directed by Todor Chapkanov (MonsterWolf).