Summer of Blood @ Fantasia

If Woody Allen was to make a vampire film this might be the result
If Woody Allen was to make a vampire film this might be the result

How could you not like a film that at the same time tries to examine human behaviour while throwing in a vampire threesome for good measure?

 

Before the film director Onur Tukel’s film was described to us as a mixture of a Woody Allen film and a vampire one.  I shook my head in disbelief thinking that was not possible, but as the 86 minute film went on I had to agree with that assessment.

 

A la Tyler Perry (who he cheekily makes fun of during the film for doing the same thing), Tukel wrote, directed and stars in the film.  Tukel stars as Eric, a lazy, self-absorbed, untidy and childlike man in the midst of a break-up with his girlfriend, Jody (Anna Margaret Holly – The Brave One).  It is cemented by the fact that it finally gets through to her that she is with a man-child who is afraid of commitment and doesn’t want children.  After the break-up she jumps right into a relationship with an old college friend.

 

Eric, who doesn’t really know how to be alone, tries to win Jody back and is unsuccessful, so he awkwardly dives into the dating scene.  Because of his irritating personality, ability to always say the wrong thing and the fact that he is lousy in bed his attempts at dating go horribly wrong.

 

Upset about his lack of success Eric wanders around New York one night.  In a rather scary and deserted area of town he runs into a guy named Gavin (Dustin Guy Defa), who acts strangely and although Eric admits to being scared he cannot seem to leave.  When Gavin asks Eric the question “Do you want to die” that is when things start getting very interesting.

 

Woody Allen and Larry David both have used biting wit to poke fun at elements of human behaviour or society in general that they find to be ridiculous. Both have forged hugely successful careers churning out such material. Independent filmmaker Onur Tukel is trying to make his own way using that same biting wit.  While he certainly isn’t of the calibre of aforementioned two gentlemen he certainly has a talent for dark humour.

 

Looking like a jittery Jerry Garcia, Tukel could never be mistaken for a quality actor and yet he is perfect in the role of this annoying slacker.  Actually none of the cast is Benecio Del Toro or Kate Winslet and yet they all bring the right “je ne sais Hipster quoi” to their roles.

 

It does take a little work to get into the rhythm of the film.  It is different that most anything else you will see this year.  You also might start thinking that this is a one trick pony, but then you will realize that there is a little more going on underneath the surface. The more you get into the film the more you realize that rather than simply dismissing this as a poorly made vampire/horror film it is really a study of commitment, relationships and what being with someone for eternity actually means.  An at times very clever black comedy that just uses the vampire aspect as a plot device and B horror movie homage.

 

A misstep is made at the end of the film and the way it is resolved.  It is at the point when Eric begins to realize that the life he wanted to lead is not really enjoyable, so he begins to change himself and attempt to win back the love of his life, Jody, where it lost me a little.  This storyline was rather predictable and it is too late for redemption for the despicable Eric.  It does not go so far as to ruin the film, but I’m sure there was a better potential ending than the one Tukel came up with.

 

 

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