When Sarah over at Fatally Yours said she had an indie vampire film for me to review, I was actually pretty excited. Despite the few indie disappointments, which I had to review previously for FY, this one was a vampire film and we all know that vampires have a special, bloodstained place in my heart. However, within the first five seconds of the film, my head was already resting firmly in the palms of my hands accompanied by a low, miserable groan. The acting was bad. Not bad in “a couple of beers and it will be funnier” way. No, this was the “bad” that is beyond all recognizable help, the type of “bad” that makes you wonder if the director of the film didn’t just go down to the local 7-11 and pick up a few people that had been hanging around the Slurpee machine and then ask Uncle Bob to play the detective because they had run out of money to buy beer for the extras. However, I decided to give the movie another twenty minutes in hopes that perhaps it would suddenly, miraculously surprise me with an unexpected turn of acting talent. Twenty very long and tedious minutes passed...And still, I was as miserably disappointed as I had been within the first five seconds. What is this indie disaster, you ask? This would ABE’S TOMB by Arizona-based production house Maxim Media International.

Before we get into the brief but brutal dissection of ABE’S TOMB, there is one thing that is bothering me from a media standpoint. Having a background in marketing and advertising, I know more than a bit about name rights when it comes to companies. Maxim Media sounded really familiar so I Googled it. There are several companies already under that name, including a Maxim Media who apparently has copyrighted the name since 2003. Now, I’m not a lawyer, but I have to say that Maxim Media International is playing a pretty dicey legal game by not researching that kind of thing before launching their films. Just a word to the wise...make sure no one else has the name before branding everything you have with it. This is just good advice for anyone starting a company. People are sue-happy these days and the last thing you need when you’re trying to make a name for yourself is a big, pain-in-the-ass lawsuit tying up your marketing funds...

But back to the movie review...

ABE’S TOMB is the tale of a small town called Moore’s Lake, which has found itself plagued by “feral vampires”. (Note to self...apparently there are “feral” vampires which means there are “domesticated” vampires...Only adopt “domesticated” vampires!) The local police department is aware of the situation and has alerted the government, which has, subsequently, quarantined the area to keep the vampires from creating a “Vampire Nation”. Now, within Moore’s Lake there resides an “all-powerful entity”, a vampire that has “long ago, vowed vengeance upon the town”. However, the police officers of this small find themselves having to ally themselves with this vampire in order to save the world... Does anyone else find themselves yawning at this point in the description, or is it just me? There are so many unanswered issues with this storyline that it is painful for me to even regurgitate the synopsis. Because the questions are never fully resolved in the film, the plot comes across as trite and stale. However, even when a movie has an empty and ill-conceived plot, it can, in some very rare cases, redeem itself with an entertaining delivery. However, I have already pointed out the absolute deficit of acting abilities in this film so, unfortunately, there was no redemption for ABE’S TOMB. The ridiculously predictable storyline was made even more unpalatable by the elementary school delivery of the actors. I saw more acting talent in our fifth grade performance of THE SOUND OF MUSIC then I did in the twenty minutes I observed of ABE’S TOMB. Please...PLEASE people! If you are planning on being in a film of any sort and you are an inexperienced actor, PLEASE SIGN UP FOR SOME BASIC ACTING LESSONS! You will save yourself and your cast-mates years of embarrassment. And if you truly don’t care what the people watching your film think of your performance, then please do not submit them to professional reviewing sites that are going to deliver a brutally honest critique of your work. Perhaps then we reviewers will actually have time to write about the films that have some artistic merit to them...

I’m sure some people whom have read my reviews are starting to wonder what I have against indie films. The fact is, that I LOVE indie films. Some of my all-time favorite movies are small-budget underground indie flicks. However, they are WELL-PRODUCED artistic creations. Every filmmaker has to get their feet wet in the industry and produce that first film that may or may not be well-received by the world. It is this way in any artistic profession. However, there are far too many people with digital cameras running around out there with ill-formed understandings of good filmmaking, and furthermore good HORROR films, producing indigestible garbage. For every decent, truly scary horror movie that is made, a thousand high-school-grade disgraces multiply like Gremlins across the internet...and as long as such films keep arriving in my mailbox, I will continue to write my unapologetic reviews of them. Of this, you can be sure!

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