Tuesday, August 5, 2008


As far as popcorn vampire flicks go, The Lost Boys is right up there with both Fright Nights as examples of enjoyable movies containing some neat undead hijinx coupled with great make-up and special effects.
Now, 21 years after Kiefer Sutherland first slept all day and partied all night, we’re given the straight-to-DVD sequel, Lost Boys: The Tribe, featuring, wait for it… vampire surfers! (Which would make them vampires who like to surf. Or maybe they’re surfer vampires, which would make them surfers who suck…)

We can assume by their last name that Chris and Nicole Emerson (Tad Hilgenbrinck and The O.C.’s Autumn Reeser) are the children of The Lost Boys’ Michael Emerson and Star. We’re told that their parents supposedly died in a car accident a couple of years back (hmmmm…), and they’ve just now moved to Luna Bay, into a sad little fix-‘er-upper, courtesy of their Aunt Jillian-with-a-J (Gabrielle Rose).
Not surprisingly—though on the surface, rather incredulously—there are vampires in Luna Bay, and while Chris is targeted as a potential recruit to the nocturnal unlife, Nicole is instantly—and conveniently—attracted to lead vampire Shane Powers (Angus Sutherland, half-brother of Kiefer).
And, wouldn’t you know it, look who also happens to live in Luna Bay, but Edgar Frog (Corey Feldman, reprising his Lost Boys role).
What follows then is essentially a retread of the original, in a film that we really didn’t need in the first place.

In the deluge of Hollywood productions that insist on looking back instead of striking out for new narrative horizons, The Tribe is definitely on the lower end of the scale, as it doesn’t even seem to attempt anything different from the original.
And while I admit that there seems to be a suggestion that there are deeper motivations and machinations going on beneath what we see on the TV screen (arguably making this more of a sequel than it may first appear to be), they’re contained in a package that we’ve already seen before.
That earlier incarnation had the advantage of being a fresh cinematic take on the vampire, updating him for the modern audience, turning in the velvet and opera cape for leather and an 80’s punk attitude.
The thing is, we’ve seen this sort of vampire numerous times since, so what was new and engaging for the big screen back then, is just tired and unremarkable today.

The Tribe is also hobbled by some problematic performances.
While Reeser passes muster (though perhaps only barely), Hilgenbrinck—who will be seen in John Simpson’s Amusement and Dave Parker’s The Hills Run Red—isn’t a particularly engaging lead, not really conveying much in the way of genuine emotion; he’s certainly no Jason Patric.
The younger Sutherland meanwhile, has the whole surfer bra thing so down pat, he becomes a distracting presence, and is a character that’s difficult to take seriously.
And in the portion of the film’s running time where he does appear, Feldman tries gamely to inject some of the old Lost Boys magic into this, but it’s a losing battle.
We don’t even have the luxury of having the likes of Dianne Wiest, Edward Herrmann, or Barnard Hughes, as the original did; in appealing to a young audience, The Tribe seems to have concentrated more on fresh-faced, less experienced performers.

There are a couple of moments, granted: the Tom Savini bit, the “Cry Little Sister” cover, but they’re hardly enough to carry the film, or make up for the limp and unimpressive climactic confrontations.
All director P.J. Pesce has done here is to serve up a movie that blatantly relies on brand name recognizability without even offering a viewing experience worthy of its predecessor.
If Pesce and company had only tried to further the original film’s narrative in a follow-up that was even remotely original, this might have been something worthwhile. As it is, The Tribe tries to be the enjoyable popcorn horror film The Lost Boys was, but all it succeeds at is being an unoriginal and ultimately, disposable diversion.

(Lost Boys: The Tribe DVD cover art and images courtesy of bloody-disgusting.com.)

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