Movie review – Eternity is bound to bite the dust

2010-12-26 13:00
Gayle Edmunds
Film: Eternity (Indigenous Films)
Director: Christopher-Lee Dos Santos
Featuring: Hlomla Dandala, Christina Storm, Ian Roberts, David James, ­Andre Frauenstein and Rikki Brest
Rating: 2/10

At the screening of local flick Eternity, press director Christopher-Lee Dos ­Santos shared how he had made the film in six months and how he had a mere 12 days to prepare for shooting.

Alas, this is glaringly obvious in the finished product, which was released this week.

While I am loathe to massacre a local production, I also believe that our film industry is right up there with the best, so those filmmakers that let the side down do not deserve to be ­mollycoddled.

Eternity is a vampire thriller set on the streets of Johannesburg – a great idea which, with the right groundwork, might just have worked. Anton Ernst, who came up with the story and co-wrote the script, should have spent much, much longer refining the screenplay.

The plot is about a splinter group of vampires who are looking for a serum that will enable them to walk in the sunlight.

Then there’s the young vampire who spots a human girl across a room and falls in love with her.

So far it’s a ­mishmash of Blade and Twilight.

And herein lies one of the major ­problems with Eternity – it adds nothing new to the vampire lexicon.

It bites chunks out of every funky vampire flick that has been made in the past 20 years and splints them onto a shaky local frame.

Also, it doesn’t explain the vampiric rules.

For example, in Twilight we all know that the bloodsuckers can’t go in the sun because they sparkle.

Here, during a gun battle, vampire ­after vampire dies after being shot. Aren’t vampires supposed to be immortal?

Only two-thirds of the way in do we discover that these vampires, like their furry werewolf cousins, can be killed by silver bullets.

The scripting problems are legion – there’s too much repetition and too many of the scenes don’t move the narrative forward.

It’s impossible to believe that the two teenagers – Billy (Andre Frauenstein) and Jenny (Rikki Brest) – have managed to forge a bond worth dying for over a Jägerbomb, a dance and a drive home, during which they discuss ­nothing meaningful.

Hlomla Dandala takes on the role of Joe Kau, a Van Helsing-like character that the actor ­valiantly attempts to flesh out.

David James as the villain isn’t quite scary enough because his background isn’t explained, his motives are unclear and although he starts off well, by the climax his character has become a caricature.

Another symptom of the film’s overall ­malaise: an underdeveloped script and an ­inexperienced director.

Eternity doesn’t have a coherent vision, which is probably why the editing is so dicey. Dos Santos has tried to use interesting angles and the hand-held camera is probably ­supposed to give the film a gritty immediacy.

However, he gets carried away with making good-looking shots at the expense of the story.

Eternity went on, well, forever, but one thing that can be said for it is that the eye candy is good.

Frauenstein and Brest are both great to look at, as is Christina Storm in Goth-chic outfits.

But it’s not enough to sustain an ­audience’s interest for a full 90 minutes.

Alas, this is one local film that should have a wooden stake plunged through it.