Against The Dark (2009)

Against The Dark (2009)

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Pretty much 90 minutes of this.
Pretty much 90 minutes of this.

Twitter Plot Summary: A group of survivors try to escape from a hospital filled with infected vampire zombie things. Steven Seagal wields a sword.

Genre: Action/Horror/Sci-Fi/Thriller

Director: Richard Crudo

Key Cast: Stephen Seagal, Tanoai Reed, Linden Ashby, Jenna Harrison, Danny Midwinter, Keith David

Five Point Summary:

1. Oh my, how stilted is that dialogue?
2. An eyeball! Nice!
3. “What is that?” Well even from a distance it looks like a corpse to me…
4.Oh look, more hospital corridors… and a vampire thing that kind of looks like Robert Duvall.
5. And a vampire/zombie that sounds like Saw. If only he’d said that he wants to play a game.

Steven Seagal. Vampire zombies. Surely that’s a winning combination in anybody’s book? Well, you would think so, but no – it’s terrible. After a virus wipes out a huge number of the world’s population, survivors have to contend with vampire zombie creatures roaming the streets. Step up Steven Seagal and his band of fearless vampire killers, only one of whom apparently has the ability to speak – that’d be Tanoai Reed, aka cousin of The Rock. The other two are apparently mute supermodels who’re there just to look good in leather and carry a weapon. You can tell they’re a fearless bunch because they swirl around in leather coats and dress all in black, like rejects from The Matrix. To call these things vampires is a bit of a misnomer though, they’re actually more like 28 Days Later-style infected with sharp pointy teeth, not dissimilar to the killer Rabbit from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Still, we’re told they’re vampires so let’s just call them that. Even if technically they’re not. Whilst Seagal and his team of Hunters plod around killing any infected they see, another group of survivors try to make their way out of a hospital full of infected before the military nukes the place. Not that this time limit is really imposed on the characters at any point, they’re just content to avoid dying.

Dialogue is pure cheese, the acting generally poor and director Richard Crudo fails to build any tension. Excessive slow motion is once more the order of the day, although not used to the same extent as other more recent Seagal movies. Seagal himself doesn’t appear nearly often enough to justify receiving top billing, and Keith David clearly had nothing better to do in the week he must have spent on this project. Still, he’s a good actor and outperforms everybody else in this train wreck of a movie. If the script is good then you can forgive the fact that all we’re doing is watching people walk around hospital corridors. As this is all that happens (other than brief cutaways to Keith David and his military role) and the script isn’t very good, it soon becomes a slog.

Obviously a trip to the dentist was overdue.
Obviously a trip to the dentist was overdue.

There’s a couple of action sequences early on and a bit of gore to pique your interest, but after that the pace slows down to groups of people walking through dimly lit corridors trying to avoid being eaten. It’s a shame because there are some decent ideas dotted throughout the script. A scene where a vampire files her teeth down to appear human is a nice touch, and the cinematography is surprisingly adept for such a low budget feature. The makeup is also rather good and the gore, whilst there isn’t much of it, is of a similar high quality. This might suggest that there are sufficient reasons to watch the film. Don’t be fooled, it would take a lot more to make this worthwhile.

Seagal was vaguely entertaining back in 1992, and other than his extended cameo in Executive Decision he’s not made a decent film since then. It’s probably for the best that he only has about 10 minutes of screen time in this one. I’m not sure why, but he’s also been dubbed by Alin Olteanu. It seems a bit pointless as he just sounds like Steven Seagal… I can only think that his dialogue was unusable after they went through the footage and they couldn’t get him back into the studio for the ADR dubbing sessions.

So can I recommend Against The Dark? No, I can’t, not really. As a late night piece of trashy cinema then it might be worth a viewing, in particular if you see it with a group of friends, otherwise leave it in the bargain bin where it belongs.

Favourite scene: Anything with Keith David, the man is a legend and proves it with his performance.

Quote: “I want to see daylight again.” “I want you to see daylight again.” Erm… what?

Silly Moment: The long haired chap takes some pills and dies in the daftest possible way.

Score: 1.5/5

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