Avia Vampire Hunter ~ 2005, Leon Hunter, USA
WHOA!! Talk about slumming it… This is a grotesquely incompetent production. Let’s start at the beginning… So, I have no idea how this movie wound up at the top of my Netflix queue. It somehow arrived at my house unannounced, and I have no memory of having ever heard of it before. All in all, I am beginning to suspect paranormal intervention. Then I watched it. Wow. This thing is an epic turkey.
Avia Vampire Hunter is a remarkably boring and generic story about a woman who has devoted her life to hunting vampires because they “killed her baby.” …Okay? Mostly, her hunting amounts to wandering around parks and neighborhoods wearing budget conscious Matrix cosplay and carrying a ninja sword she bought of Amazon for 60 dollars. Sometimes she finds cheap, plastic skulls or other Halloween Store decorations laying around. On rare occasions she might use her flashlight. Every once in a while she manages, somehow, to find vampires, and then she kills them in a clumsy, slowly acted, badly choreographed fit of bellow average ninja fury. Your neighbor kids are probably making a movie that will surpass this in quality as we speak. Also, she apparently falls in love with a cop pretty much instantly early on in the movie, and at some point the movie tries to establish some sort of tension by floating the idea that maybe Avia is actually crazy and vampires don’t exist. That subplot remains very brutally underdeveloped.
There are a couple points we should probably talk about individually here. Let’s break it down:
- MUSIC ~ First and foremost, Avia Vampire Hunter has the most hilariously inept use of score that I’ve ever seen in a movie. Yes, including Birdemic. This one wins out over Birdemic in this category. The music sounds like the editor clearly just bought a ton of public domain (I hope) music by different composers and jammed it in there with all the grace and subtly of an occupied porta-potty tumbling end-over-end down a long staircase. There is a valiant, if not completely insane effort to add suspense to scenes of Avia wandering about mindlessly by using the most suspenseful music available to man. The end result is equally comedic and pitiful. Who did this, and how is it that they didn’t know better?
- VAMPIRES ~ This is the closest I can come to actually complimenting this shambling ambulance crash of movie- some of the vampires are creative looking. Others look like your typical mall goths. There is some variety here, but for some reason there is included in this film a vampire troop decked out in bloody blindfolds with Rick James hair and long sticks stuck onto their fingers (I think they’re supposed to be finger nails.) I don’t know why these are in the movie, or why they have bloody blindfolds, or really anything else about them, but in this sea of mediocrity and recycled cliches, these stand apart as slightly more imaginative, so I thought they deserved a mention, whatever the hell they are.
- ROMANTIC SUBPLOT ~ The romance between Avia and Lieutenant Whocares (May not be his actual name- I don’t remember, and it’s just not worth a trip to IMDB to find out) is handled so, so terribly. They basically fall in love immediately despite their every interaction feeling skeezy and bleached of any form of humanity whatsoever. Toward the end of the film What’s-His-Name is informed that Avia might be insane, and finds himself under pressure to arrest her for murdering humans who she believes to be vampires (The movie never clarifies if she really is crazy or not)… When I say “put under pressure,” he’s not really put under any sort of pressure at all. Some guy just mentions it to him the same way a frat boy might say “Stay away from that chick, bro, she’s bad news.” This seems like it’s going to be a major plot point, but then he really doesn’t do anything. He acts like he has to, and then he just doesn’t. One gets the impression that writer/director Leon Hunter clearly tried really, really hard with this movie, even if his effort was totally fruitless, so this feels like a weird thing to establish and then completely fail to explore. Are we supposed to accept that Detective Whocares just decides to take her word for it? This is all part of the staggering stupidity with which Avia Vampire Hunter is so generously endowed. Also, it’s really hard to critique Avia Vampire Hunter without launching personal attacks against it’s director, come to find out. I’m trying, though.
- TONE ~ This is the most damaging quality found in the fibers of Avia Vampire Hunter. It takes itself really, really seriously. If Leon Hunter had his way, this would not be a fun popcorn flick, this would be a heavy, emotional action piece which volleys between deep canyons of human drama and exciting sequences of sword play and horror. Frequently we are treated to scenes which are meant to show case the talents of our lead actress as she grapples with her inner demons in a struggle as heated and desperate as any Rick James vampire battle ever could be. Of course, no one in this movie can act, so in the end we would have been treated to a better acting tour de force had Hunter just filmed some shoes or a can of tomato sauce for a while. Really anything would have been better. Avia just looks like an idiot trying to wrap her mind around some simple concept she just saw on Sesame Street, but this movie so badly wants for her to be Meryl Streep yanking at your heartstrings like crazy. For all it’s effort, none of what Avia Vampire Hunter tries to do in establishing emotion lands at all, and the movie ends up being less authentic or emotionally hard hitting than say, Ernest Goes to Camp, or a McDonald’s commercial. That wouldn’t matter, but the effort is so apparent that this failure feels particularly devastating.
In closing, Avia Vampire Hunter is unforgivably terrible. Everything about it sucks. One time my mom accidentally filmed the inside of her pocket with her cell phone while she walked around the grocery store, and she asked me to help her delete it. I did, but before I removed this footage from her cellular device I was treated to a movie which bests Avia Vampire Hunter on every conceivable plane of human accomplishment.
Special note, this movie is still better than Sucker Punch.