A man with a certain set of skills must save his daughter from the criminals who kidnapped her and killed his wife. No, it’s not the latest installment in the Taken franchise, it’s writer/director Chris Sanders’ (Demons at Dawn) debut film Nest of Vampires which pits MI5 agent Kit Valentine (Tom Faifoot, Doomsday) against Samuel Archer (Hans Hernke, High Moon, Art of the Dead) and his gang of human traffickers.
Nest of Vampires opens with a bit of text telling us how wearing Lapis Lazuli allows vampires to go out during the day. Then it introduces us to Mario (Jon-Paul Gates, Dragon Kingdom, Scare Attraction), a vampire with an accent that makes Super Mario’s sound legit. After Mario kills Kit’s wife and abducts his daughter Anna (Daria Krauzo) Kit’s boss tasks him with taking out the gang, seemingly officially sanctioning his revenge.
It’s at this point that Nest of Vampires takes what should have been a major reveal and casually turns it into a bit of exposition. “If I’d known Kit was one of us I’d have left his family alone.” Yes, Kit is a vampire as well.
What follows is an action film without the action and a horror film without any horror. Kit skulks about the small English town that serves the gang’s base not even trying to cover his tracks as he strongarms information out of people. Various factions within the vampires and MI5 double-cross each other. And Simone (Jet Jandreau, The Last Library) might be able to help Kit if she can be trusted.
While this sounds like it should be exciting, it’s almost all handled via scenes of endless dialogue. I lost count of how many times Kit tells people they should be afraid of him before he finally shows his fangs at around the hour mark. The fangs look like they came from a Dollar Store, or Poundland if you’re in the UK, Halloween bin. Not that it matters, the vampires prefer to stab people and drink their collected blood. Or is that to collect adrenochrome? There’s a subplot about that and Satanists mixed into Nest of Vampires as well.
While there is the odd effective bit of gore like a cut-off hand and a slit throat, most of the effects here are awful. When characters transform into their vampiric form you can see the edges of the latex appliances pasted onto their faces. The lack of any effort to match the character’s skin tones makes them stand out clear as day.
People frequently say they wonder how films like this get made. That’s easy, plenty of people either underestimate the difficulty of making a good film or overestimate their own talent. What I want to know is, how do films like Nest of Vampires get distributed? Because I can’t imagine anyone watching this and imagining it would be a moneymaker.
Black Coppice Films will release Nest of Vampires on digital platforms on March 16th in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. You can check the film’s Facebook page for details.