11th Jul2024

‘The After Dark’ Review (Tubi)

by Jim Morazzini

Stars: Lars Frederiksen, David Heath, Ashley Ballou, Sinn Bodhi, Danny Saxton | Written by Josh Cornell, Lola Devlin | Directed by Tom Devlin

The After Dark is the latest film from Tom Devlin, the director of Teddy Told Me To, Slaughterhouse on the Hill, and Las Vegas Frankenstein. This time around, he’s turned his attention to a staple of the horror genre, vampires. The film opens with Volsung, played by Lars Frederiksen of the band Rancid, telling us about the two clans of vampires living in Los Vegas, The Vanished and The Lobos. The Vanished are a traditional group, led by Vigo. Vigo is played by David Heath, who you may recognize from his time in with the WWE as the vampiric Gangrel.

Their newest member, Beth (Ashley Ballou; Move Me No Mountain, The Casanova Killer: The Paul John Knowles Story) has already caught Vigo’s attention, but she’s having a hard time adjusting to life among the undead, let alone the thought of him touching her.

Vegas’ other clan, The Lobos is a lot less stuffy and traditional. They’re led by Dax, who is also played by a wrestler, Sinn Bodhi. They hang out at The After Dark, a punk rock dive bar, and are more interested in having a good time than in traditions. Needless to say, there’s a history between Dax and Vigo and bad blood between the two clans. This results in Beth, the only member of The Vanished who wouldn’t be recognized, being sent to keep an eye on The Lobos.

The problem is, she likes life at The After Dark a lot more than with The Vanished, and she likes Dax’s right-hand man Jack (Danny Saxton; Legend of the Sandsquatch) a lot more than Vigo. She decides to defect, which leads to a full-scale war between the two clans.

While I’ve quite liked the two of Devlin’s films I’ve seen so far, plotting wasn’t exactly their strong point, people go somewhere spooky and get slaughtered by a madman. The After Dark is a bit more plot-driven and less of a bloodbath than they were, however. Writers Josh Cornell and Lola Devlin (Creek, The Trek) have fashioned a punk variation of Romeo and Juliet, with fangs.

That’s not to say there isn’t any gore to be found in The After Dark, the final act features a good deal of practical mayhem, including some heads rolling and chunks bitten out of faces. There’s just not the amount of outrageously over-the-top splatter that you may be expecting after Teddy Told Me To.

There’s also a message about what does and doesn’t matter in life and un-death. For Vigo, it’s all about power and control, while Dax simply wants to be happy and do what he considers the right thing. That includes getting along with humans, who Vigo considers nothing more than food. This ties into the backstory between the two and provides some revelations about another character in the final act.

The final showdown between the two clans features, as you might expect, a wrestling-style brawl between the two leaders. Despite being a bit past their prime, both men give a good showing and viewers, especially pro wrestling fans, should get a kick out of it. Some of the other action does look a bit stiff, as if the actors were simply given an abridged version of Film Fighting 101 before shooting. But, given the obviously limited budget, it’s good to see so much brawling going on.

While occasionally hampered by that lack of resources, The After Dark still manages to be an enjoyable watch for low budget film fans. Fans of punk and wrestling will have even more to enjoy.

*** 3/5

The After Darkness is available to stream on Tubi and other streaming platforms now.

Review originally posted on Voices From the Balcony

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