Former cop turned Private Detective Erika ‘Colt’ Coltrane (Martha Harms) is bored with taking just divorce cases. After talking with a barman friend of hers she is put on to the scent of some mysterious murders. After saving Nick Payne (Ian Sinclair) she becomes embroiled in a murder cover up and attempt to kill Nick by a small group of vampires.
Vamps… is a hard boiled noir with a vampiric twist. It comes complete in black and white with a former cop turned private investigator biting off more than they can chew and main character voice over. This in itself is not a bad idea, certainly there is room for a cross over of the noir and vampire genres and I think this film generally has the right idea. The film makers are obviously fans of the noir genre, littering the film with genre tropes and little references, including Humphrey Bogart. It is a little light on the vampire side, with only really sound effects attempting to convince you of anybody’s vampirism and no fangs.
The film is certainly a slave to its micro budget and so comes with all the bad things this entails. The sound mix is a mess with you being unable to hear some of the dialogue while other parts, such as one scene set outside, is overdubbed with the cast obviously in a small room. It has dodgy locations, a staircase supposedly in a bar is obviously just in someone’s house, and there is also a tin foil knife, blood that is some sort of food condiment and a line of dialogue repeated by accident.
The acting from the main cast is perfectly fine, even if main actor Martha Harms doesn’t really convince as a former cop/private detective. It is certainly better than a lot of budget movie acting. The script isn’t amazing, but apart from a couple of lines the dialogue is mostly pretty good and sometimes even fun, ‘Havent you got an STD to catch?’. It is adequately shot, the camera angles are all perfectly fine and convey the action and it certainly has a grasp of cinematic rules. There are even a couple of nicely framed shots such as a well cast framing shadow and a face obscured by a wine glass. The film is only seventy minutes long and it passes by at a brisk enough pace, never particularly dragging.
Ultimately, the film has the feel of a student shot production. At best it is adequate, at worst it is bad. Having said that, it shows a cinematic competence which can only improve with time. It is what it is.
Vamps, Blood and Smoking Guns can be rented or bought from their Facebook page.