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Driving cross-country to deliver a car and attend his sister's wedding, Sean picks up a hitchhiker-a vampire hunter--and the two set out to kill the leader of a band of roving vampires.


Sean (Kerr Smith) takes a week off from his job in Los Angeles to attend his sister's wedding in Miami and deliver a car at the same time. But the owner has one rule: No hitchhikers! As this titillating bit of foreshadowing suggests, Sean gets a flat tire on a deserted highway, loses his wallet and has no choice but to pick up hitchhiker Nick (Brendan Fehr), who offers to cover the cost of gas. What Sean soon finds out is that Nick is actually hunting down the leader of a band of roving vampires, and he must kill him in order to avoid becoming a vampire himself. On their trek they find Megan (Izabella Miko), also a victim of the telepathic ''vampire virus,'' and use her as bait to lure the undead to sacred grounds and lop off their heads. A hesitant Sean is forced to play along after Megan bites him. If the story is hard follow, don't worry--Sean and Nick rehash the plot each time they sit down to eat.


The performances in this film are passable at best. While Dawson's Creek heartthrob Smith and Roswell's Fehr work as best they can with such a silly script, they spend most of the film sweaty, grimy and on the run. Johnathon Schaech plays lead vampire Kit, who looks creepy enough but never really says much. The same goes for his sidekicks Cym (Phina Oruche) and Teddy (Alexis Thorpe) except they don't even try to be eerie, they just walk around pouting seductively in tight, short outfits. Miko, as the film's waifish bait, spends most of the 105 minutes in a half-naked and morphine-induced state. In the rare instances when she is not being carried in someone's arm, she is either screaming or spitting up blood. Not much talent needed there, but perhaps this is for the best: when she finally does muster a line in the film's final moments, you almost wish she hadn't.


Loaded with shots of Sean's vintage Mercedes driving down Arizona highways with sunset backdrops and loud music, The Forsaken at times looks and feels like a music video. The special effects, which consist mostly of blood and gore, are so basic that you can almost see the fake blood capsules spurting out of the actors' mouths. And because the lighting is so stark and the action scenes shot so tightly, it is hard to get a sense of who is shooting at whom. In terms of suspense, director J.S. Cardone uses every trick in the horror movie handbook, resulting in predictable scenarios seen a hundred times before, only this time, they're worse. This lack of originality, coupled with lame scares and virtually no screams is--as one might expect--ultimately this film's downfall. It's too derivative of horror movies of the past (think Vampires and The Hitcher). A shame, really. There hasn't been a good teen horror film in a quite some time.

Bottom line

Unless you find a bimbo in hot pants licking blood off a corpse remotely scary, The Forsaken will prove something of a disappointment