The Davenport Vampire is a low budget, independent, short horror film produced in the US. But with so many vampire films around, and with so many people trying to make amateur horror films, what chance does it have to leave a lasting impact on its audience?
When a cocky young man meets a dope dealer in a remote car park, he has no reason at all to feel unsafe in his surroundings.
But as he drifts off into weed-induced unconsciousness, night falls. And it would appear that something brutal and vicious is out there with him.
The darkness hides a hungry predator that is hunting any fleshy humans that are foolish to drive to this desolate place.
Confined to his car after witnessing the aftermath of a savage vampire attack on an unfortunate man nearby, this lone stoner can only hope that the emergency dispatcher on the other end of the phone will believe his wild story and send help his way.
The Davenport Vampire keeps things unassuming and simple. There’s no need for excessive dialogue or storytelling because this is a film that manages to tell you enough with visuals and good characterisation.
It’s a lesson that many don’t seem to learn. If you keep the idea simple and the focus narrow the audience will follow, no matter what your budget. And in this case the viewer is very quickly and easily transported into the passenger seat on this nightmarish trip.
The film isn’t perfect. The camerawork leaves a little to be desired (repeated loss of focus being one of the more distracting problems). A couple of cast members could perhaps have given better performances too, but on the whole The Davenport Vampire is surprisingly good. I’ve seen people with a lot more budget and resources at their disposal produce far worse work.
The call center aspect of it does add a different element to the story, giving you an alternate, not often explored detached perspective on the event that unfolds.
In some ways, I wish that the film hadn’t had such an overt title, as a bit more uncertaintly about what lurks in the night could well have heightened the fear.
The Davenport Vampire doesn’t reinvent the genre and I’m sad to report, it didn’t give me nightmares.
But what this film does do is give us a modern twist on that classic vampire tale, putting the characters in an everyday situation that we should all be able to relate to. And that is key when making a horror film.
It’s an idea that has potential, and it would be great to see it developed as a full length feature.