Independent horror has a lot of potential for groundbreaking, unsettling material and approaches. It also has a lot of potential for mediocrity, and outright failure. Scrappy, under an hour vampire film Indemnity: Rage of a Jealous Vampire isn't quite a total failure, but stumbles more than it dances.
William (David Dietz, who also writes and directs) is on the run. He flees through the darkened woods, pursued by a female figure with glowing red eyes. He's clearly in fear for his life. Luckily, a truck stops by the road, and offers him a ride to a nearby tavern, called the Rinky Dink, which is quite rustic, complete with a pig rutting outside the front door. He's safe for the moment. Inside, he meets the grizzled proprietor Joe (Daniel I. Radakovich), and they strike up a conversation.
Meanwhile, Angela (Crystalann Jones) relentlessly follows, picking up a ride from a scruffy looking gentleman into town. We soon discover that she's a vampire, when instead of trading sexual favors for the ride, she drains the driver of his life essence. At the bar, in between teaching a lesson in manners to some rednecks, William spills the details of his woman problems to Joe, who unaccountably seems to care a lot about the subject. The rest of the film is mostly William talking to Joe, building up a rapport with him, trying to convince him to help him out with his lady problem, and Angela tracking William down.
The story isn't terribly involved or unique, and I won't reveal any spoilers here. It basically just builds to a final twist, which isn't inherently objectionable. Here, the telling and the twist aren't handled all that elegantly. Dietz, Seth James and Craig J. Stephenson (who play the redneck rabble rousers Bubba and Zeke) give decent performances, but Radakovich fumbles his lines on a number of occasions. Crystalann Jones' performance is spotty, and is hampered by her vampire teeth, which required perhaps more emoting than strictly desirable. The dialogue isn't great either. The image is often murky and dark.
On the other hand, the fight scenes and blood effects are fairly well done, the Rinky Dink set (which appears to be an operating bar) feels authentic and lived in, and there is some cool imagery to be seen. The stylized day for night scenes look almost rotoscoped, and have a moody, ethereal feel. There are some great music cues, though the incidental music tends to the repetitive. Crystalann Jones is quite easy on the eyes. Overall, Indemnity is something of a wash, but the highlights fail to overcome the lows. Fans of super low budget films might want to seek it out, but others will be disappointed by the obstacles that a lack of funds creates. Rent it.
The video is 1.33:1 standard, and does have some issues. As mentioned above, it's quite murky and dark at times, and there is some grain. It looks better than some low budget fare, but isn't great.
Audio is LPCM 2 channel, and sounds mostly decent, though there is an audible hum at times. The dialogue is understandable, but no subtitles or alternate audio tracks are included.
There are several extras included. They are:
There are two deleted scenes, and a couple of alternate scenes, shot with a different actress (who had to withdraw early in production) playing Angela. Moderately interesting.
Behind the Scenes
Just over thirteen minutes of behind the scenes footage, with setting up shots, lighting, finding sight lines, and David Dietz directing performances. Also moderately interesting.
Seven minutes of production stills and behind the scenes photos.
A mediocre trailer for Indemnity: Rage of a Jealous Vampire.
Bonus Feature: Shade's Last Run
This is a twenty minute black and white short, written and directed by Jason Bender, in which David Dietz stars as Shade, a man who smuggles vampires out of a decidedly anti-vampire country. Will he be betrayed by old friend Marie (Slavinsky Jaime) who he goes to for help getting out himself? More is going on than meets the eye. This is actually a pretty nifty little film, and does right a lot of things that Indemnity can't quite manage. The look of the film, particularly, is smooth and professional. This is the best extra of the bunch, and well worth a look. (A pretty cool trailer for Shade's Last Run is included as well.)
Indemnity: Rage of a Jealous Vampire isn't a great film. It's strictly for those fans of ultra-low budget horror, who have a fondness for the foibles and constraints of the genre, and view them with nostalgia and forgiveness. For the rest, its rough edges will probably disappoint. Govern yourself accordingly.