Movie Review #21 / 250 : ‘THE LOST BOYS’

SHHHHPOILERRRRS AHEAD….

It’s hard to be objective.  It really is.  Take me.  I hate vampires.  Seriously.  They’re boring.  Really, REALLY boring.  The whole bloodsucker angle’s been done to death over the years, no pun intended (Is there a pun?  Sod it.).  Given the rise of insane franchising of stories such as The Twilight Saga, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries ad infinitum over the past few years, I’ve found over-exposure to immortal bat-people almost as tiresome as British politics.  Also, I’m not a huge fan of teen angst films.  I mean, that whole period in one’s life is a clumsy series of embarrassments and stupid mistakes – so why the hell would you want to watch it back?  This is just me.  And I’m weeeeell aware of this.

But, given that formula, my watching of ‘Lost Boys’ bade awesomely.  A teen angst fantasy where a couple of kids wind up getting involved in underground vampirism after moving to a strange town to live with their Grandfather.  Rites of passage, weird hair, bad shirts, awkward love sequences and the classic ‘adults know nothing, kids know everything’ slant ensue.  But, for the most part, it’s fairly enjoyable.  This is clearly a movie that’s remembered fondly as it’s archetypal of its time period (so much eighties it HURTS), and that visually, it’s extremely striking.  Scenes are packed with paraphernalia and proppery abound, and some of the effects are amazing considering the time (consider one Vampy melting away in a bath of holy water and blood gushing up from the sink being part of a particularly memorable sequence).  But, divert from the visual glamour for one moment and things start to drift off.

The characters are, mostly, pretty cookie-cutter.  Token kooky grandad.  Token love interest (and one of two women in the entire film, the other being the main kids’ mother).  Token brainless henchmen.  Kiefer Sutherland’s character (the arch villain of the piece) is memorable not only for looking awesome, but he’s also one of the few here that make the part their own.  Corey Feldman shines as deadpan vampire hunter Edgar Frog, though – but the two leads (one is Corey Haim, RIP, the other is Jason Patric) are very annoying.  Fair enough – the older lad is a sulky teenager, and that’s mainly the point – this is a film about him getting involved with a bad crowd, and as a result finding out who he really is – but he’s so damned obnoxious, I could barely give a toss.  This doesn’t bode well.

But still.  Despite these flaws, it’s not a film that takes itself too seriously.  It’s clearly quite tongue in cheek, and its funny moments work.  But what smacks the most is that this is a film that, as discussed, is an archetypal 80s flick.  It’s nostalgic, it’s kooky, and for the time, pretty original (despite some banal characterisation).  However – while I might not be the target audience, I can’t see it holding up brilliantly today.  Think Short Circuit 2.  Then again… I’m fairly alone in hating Johnny 5 and his racist friend, so I’m probably not the best judge here.  The plot is predictable, but decently paced.  Not a bad thing.

I don’t see any shame in you liking this, nor remembering it.  But it’s not something I’d enamour myself to sit through again.

PROS : Visually impressive.  Nice effects.  Kiefer Sutherland and Corey Feldman carry the cast.  Reasonably funny.  Excellent final sting.  Memorable (hence ‘cult’).

CONS : Most characters either obnoxious or dull.  Females massively unrepresented.  Looks extremely dated now, no matter what you say.  Vampires, yawn (though, at the time…)

5/10.  I can’t see the reverence.  But, I can’t exactly call it bad – it’s a pretty well-made film, and it serves its audience.  I just can’t get on with it as well as I want to.  It’s fence-sitting time.

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