Crimson Throne (2013) aka Crimson Winter

Okay; so this cover is somewhat misleading.
Okay; so this cover is somewhat misleading.

“Princes and Vampires Rise Together… Now it’s Time for Blood.”

Directed by Brian Ferriter
Starring Brian Ferriter, Nick Milodragovic and Kailey Michael Portsmouth

Elric (Ferriter), a prince among vampires, chooses to fight alongside his fellow Frenchmen in the Crusades, and later in the Hundred Years War, seeking to fulfill an animal-based prophecy about a lion, a wolf and a falcon that will bring peace between vampires and humans… And then some students (primarily Milodragovic and Portsmouth as engaged couple Dylan and Roxanne) head into rural Montana to do some research into elk mortality.

We then hop back and forth in time, following the tragic backstory that leads to the idealistic Elric being imprisoned for loving a mortal, rescued by his faithful servant and hiding out in Montana being tracked by crazy hunters, while Dylan and Roxanne’s party are whittled down by Elric’s attack dog Guiscard (Ryan Pfeiffer,) then taken in by the hunters. Finally, the stage is set for a final confrontation between… um… emo and surliness? Tragically vengeance obsessed and religiously committed? with disinterested on the sidelines somewhere?

What’s wrong with it?

It’s just… very poorly made. The fights are slow and awkward, with guns that go pop and sword that sound like a foot kicking a bag of jelly. During a night attack by vampires, they spring out of nowhere via the complex special effect of running onscreen or indeed just standing around while the rest of the cast pretend that they can’t see them. Either that or they just assume that they’re some other random humans in ski jackets.

All the characters involved in the final fight are either so dull or so morally ambivalent that it’s hard to give a shit who lives or dies. For a vampire film it lacks – pun intended – stakes.

Most of the film is the origin story of Elric, who is… actually kind of unimportant. Either that or Dylan’s story is unimportant. Either we’re wasting time in the tale of an immortal vampire with some sad sack mortal whose deep and abiding love is represented by his mother’s incredibly ordinary grey woolen scarf, or spending a laughable amount of time building up the backstory of a background character.

The director cast himself as emo prince Elric. This is not a good sign.

While some of their armour is okay, the mediaeval vampires have the goofiest fucking helmets.

What’s right with it?

At one hour and forty minutes, it is at least quite short.

How bad is it really?

Oh cripes this is a stinker. It’s not just the bad acting, bad action and occasionally laughable foley sound, but that the film takes itself so painfully seriously. It genuinely believes that Elric’s quest for peace and doomed love are the stuff of timeless tragedy, when in fact it may be one of the few instances that is not a better love story than Twilight.

Best bit (if such there is)?

Snerch.

What’s up with…?

  • Gusicard’s unsignposted transformation from stalwart soldier to frothing sadist?
  • The ‘unexpected’ traitor? Unexpected because he was dead. It’s like they got to a certain point in script revision and were all… “More trauma! Hahaha!” Or was it just to try to establish Elric as an okay guy despite letting Gusicard get all… massacreistic.
  • The hunters? They just show up, with no flashbackstory, and are all ‘yes, for generations; ever since we read this book written by Elric’s even whinier brother’.

Ratings

Production values – Cheap and… well, not cheerful; not at all. 14
Dialogue and performances – There’s a fair amount of mumbling going on, and absolutely nothing of note in the dialogue. There is also a hell of a lot of unenlightening expository voice over. 15
Plot and execution – It’s two basically incompatible stories fighting for screen time, and neither of them is remotely interesting. 14
Randomness – Elric’s a good guy. Guiscard’s a good guy. Wait, they’re blood-crazed, or vengeance obsessed, and bessie mate is a traitor and Elric hates that, but… What they fuck? And who is old vampire? And what’s up with vampire princess without many lines and her unrequited love for Sir Lovesamortal? No pay off to that, you say? 16
Waste of potential – This film promises little, thinks it has a lot to offer, and is wrong12

Overall 71%

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