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.
Behind the Scenes
Bonus Feature: Shade's Last Run