Damn Sea Vampires (film DVD review).

With all the appearances of a sub-standard TV movie, ‘Damn Sea Vampires’ has a setting somewhere out from Alaska in the Bering Sea where people with flat-bottomed boats dredge the seabed for gold. Dredged up! Probably an apt description for a movie which is chronically bad. That means it’s bad and continues to be bad until it ends up deceased. I’m afraid there’s very little hope for this one. Mind you, on reflection, maybe it’s all supposed to be a joke and the script, while pretending to be bad, is really a comedy in disguise? When this was released in the USA last year, it was called ‘Bering Sea Beast’. One wonders why the same name wasn’t used. It would definitely be better than ‘Damn Sea Vampires’ but it wouldn’t have made the movie any better.

It begins at sea where a diver, trying to dig up gold, is ripped to shreds by a vampire stingray. Back at port, nobody is all that concerned and brother and sister, Joe and Donna (Jonathan Lipnicki and Cassie Scerbo), along with their father (Kevin Dobson) pay more attention to an oncoming auction of dredging rights. They are outbid by a sleaze gangster and his henchmen. In the meantime, along comes lackey Owen who is also in cahoots with lady marine biologist Prof Megan (Jacqueline Fleming).

People seem to die and nobody gives a damn. It’s the way of life out there in the Bering Straits and it’s the Sea Vampires! Like a stingray in appearance, they can fly through the air very quickly and also sink their teeth into people, drinking all their blood in a jiffy. The special effects are like something from the 1950s. Anyway, more and more people get killed by the flying fish but all they seem to think about is the rivalry between the gangster and themselves.

Where are the cops? With such an unusual species lurking about, surely national news would be onto it right away? This doesn’t happen and all we have is a pathetic war and the occasional massacre. When Joe and Donna become orphans, a fact which doesn’t upset them too much, they go out to defeat the sea monsters and the gangsters. The fight against the flying fangs becomes more and more ridiculous, especially when high-powered torches are used to knock them out of the sky. Apparently, half a second of high-intensity light is enough to make them explode in a massive burst of blood.

In one of the emotional bits, single parent Owen (Brandon Beemer) confesses that he used to make up bombs and all sorts of similar things, almost to the delight of the others who will utilise his expertise in dealing with the creatures from the bottom of the sea. Megan is virtually superfluous to the plot, likewise all the other actors. You know when somebody is going to die and despite attempts to escape, you know they are all doomed! It becomes even more laughable when lights used to grow cannabis are mounted on a vehicle to flash out the Sea Vampires!

Mercifully, the movie isn’t all that long at 82 minutes and unmercifully, virtually everybody gets killed and nobody seems to care. While the acting is okay, the scriptwriting is absolutely dreadful. Looking to see who is responsible, apparently a writer called Brook Durham, you wonder if he actually took money for doing this? Sometimes it’s so twee as to be unbelievable, the personal relationship stuff just over the top, all this interspersed with frightful action that belongs in comedy corner. No, I think this guy is a joker. This can’t be serious and it must be a big hoot!

The few remaining people sail away, content that they have killed virtually everything that moves. Is this the end of the Sea Vampires? Who knows and who gives a damn. All the rest are forgotten and the sea has claimed them all. If this is a joke, fair enough, but if it’s an attempt to be a serious movie, then it’s a waste of money. Whatever the facts are, it would certainly be a waste of money if you were to purchase this DVD. Avoid it like the Bering Straits on a cold night.

Rod MacDonald

October 2014

(region 2 DVD: pub: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. 82 minute film. Price: £ 9.00 (UK). ASIN: B00JUHCRQ4)

Subtitles: Hindi and English

Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English

cast: Cassie Scerbo, Brandon Beemer, Kevin Dobson and Jonathan Lipnicki

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