22nd Sep2011

‘Umbrage’ DVD Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Doug Bradley, Rita Ramnani, Jonnie Hurn, Natalie Celino | Written and Directed by Drew Cullingham

Umbrage

Did you know that before Eve existed Adam had another wife named Lilith? Did you know vampire cowboys can be fans of Buffy? These are two of the things you will find out when you watch Umbrage: The First Vampire.

When this movie starts off like some cowboy movie with a vampire attack you think this may be the setting for the movie, but you would be wrong. After this initial attack we are taken to Europe, yet the music in the background keeps the whole country and western feel which gives it an odd feeling really. This does fit the movie as a whole though as I would describe it as odd.

An antiques dealer hides a mirror in his barn while in the farm house he has to deal with his pregnant wife Lauren and his difficult Rachel; little does he know the women are the least of his problems.The mirror acts like a portal which brings Lilith and her shadowy demon offspring into the world and the cowboy we saw at the start appears also apparently hunting down Lilith out of revenge for the attack on him which resulted in his case of being a vampire. As Lilith makes her way through the surrounding countryside killing innocent (but American Werewolf in London addicted) campers and terrorises the small family in the farm house is the cowboy vampire there to help them or is he just as much a danger as the things that linger in the shadows?

Being a horror fan I can’t help but highlight that Doug Bradley is in this movie. He’s the original Pinhead but in this takes the back seat as the antiques dealer who unwittingly buys the mirror. Quite ironic really as when he was Pinhead he was brought onto the earth using the Lament Configuration puzzle box, nice little connection really. This is the type of little homage the movie is full of if you listen and look out for them. From the campers who are obsessed with American Werewolf in London to the cowboy who quotes from Army of Darkness and makes comments on Buffy there are little things that horror fans will pick up on. Some don’t work, for example I groaned at the Army of Darkness reference as nobody can say lines like Bruce Campbell and this cowboy was no Bruce Campbell.

Umbrage is a strange movie for me; I like how it uses legends but also pop culture references to try to be funny and quirky. Quirky as it may be it never really made me laugh, so in that element it’s a failure even if it does not hold the movie back; it could be argued of course that the movie is not really a comedy but more a horror so there is that of course. The horror elements work, but I did find that idea of the creatures in the shadows strange. They never really do anything but just slash people who get too close to them and in the end are unimportant to the story as Lilith and the Cowboy are the true main battle, they are just there in the shadows of that battle never really having a point for me. This is watchable and to some point entertaining but I do feel there could have been more to it. It’s an ambitious attempt but in the end having a cowboy versus a biblical character fight in the English countryside is just confusing, but confusingly watchable too.

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