FROM DUSK TILL DAWN


Before I rented this film, I had heard from several fairly reliable sources that it was not a particularly good movie. However, I fugured, how bad can a film with Harvey Keitel and Juliette Lewis be?  After having seen it, I can tell you that aside from the clever special effects, it is a pretty bad story. And that is sad because it begins with such potential to be a fairly good thriller.

A family consisting of a middle aged disillusioned preacher man and his two teen age children are kidnapped by two nasty murderers/bank robbers, and forced to transport them, in their mobile home, over the Texas border into Mexico. In the small Mexican town, the two bad guys are supposed to meet up with the Mexican fence who will buy the hot bank receipts from them. The rendezvous place is a sleezy sex bar called the TITTY TWISTER.

The group arrives at the TWISTER near nightfall, and find themselves amidst hardened biker and trucker type patrons where they seem oddly out of place. Most of the patrons are depicted as bad ass hombres who only care about drinking, fighting, and scoring with the really "bad girl" dancers. Several of the bikers however are shown to be really decent guys underneath their hardness. The preacher man, played by Keitel, and his clean cut son, and daughter played by Lewis, are forced to sit thorugh a series of fights, foul mouthed repartees, and "dirty dancing" by the local female talent.

The film's real horror aspect begins when suddenly, in the midst of the carousing and "entertainment", the staff of the bar reveal themselves to be "children of the night" and begin to attack the custmers, ripping their flesh, biting them, and drinking their blood, in an orgy of gore. You have seen this stuff before but in this film it is presented in a tongue in cheek campy way that adds a certin charm and entertainment to the sequence.

It is during this last part of the film that the mettle of the family and their abductors is tested. Can the bad guys stop being bad guys long enough to fight the hordes of Satan? Can the preacher man who has lost his trust in G-d turn around and call upon his religious faith to help save his family as well as save their abductors? Stay in your seat and you will find out whether or not adversity can really reform the fallen and embolden the innocent so that they all rise to the occaision, or falter and fail.

The performances are mediocre and the characterizations predictible. Once again we are led to ask what good actors such as Keitel and Lewis are doing in a film like this.

George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino give ok stereotyped performances as the nasty boy abductors. There is a nice cameo appearence by Cheech Marin as the Mexican money fence. The morphing special effects are no better or worse than in any other film of this genre. The musical soundtrack is quite good, featuring the main themes performed by ZZ TOP.

In his own web page review of the film, entitled FROM YAWN TILL SNORE, T. Pascal writes, "No need to see this one". Pascal can be reached at pascal@oxy.edu.

New York
8-16-96


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