Less about vampires than deals with the devil, “The Impaler” draws not on “Dracula” but the historical figure who inspired Bram Stoker’s iconic bloodsucker: Vlad III, a vicious 15th century Crusader known for impaling his victims. Seven friends who look far too old to be celebrating their high school graduation book a week’s stay in the notorious Romanian’s Transylvania castle. But it takes just one night before they start getting picked off one by one in manners relegated to off-screen.
Place your bets now on who goes first: The gluttonous? Slothful? Envious? Greedy? Lustful? That’s right: seven sins for seven friends — well, sort of. One guess where the virgin falls in the pecking order. For it turns out Dominic (Teo Celigo) is the hot “teenage” incarnation of Vlad, returned to reunite with his love Veronica (writer Diana Busuioc), the undead caretaker of the creepy castle, which inexplicably includes one room full of undressed mannequins.
Director Derek Hockenbrough’s vision is bigger than his budget, and it shows. The production certainly aims for authenticity, adding a swinging lamp to a train car, for example. But otherwise, there’s no sense of motion in this scene or really anywhere in the film, and the obviously stock-footage insert of some random castle just can’t make up for the lack of scale in the predominantly medium shots, which are so unevenly lighted that the time of day becomes confusing.
“I have a feeling this is going to … suck,” one of these awful characters whines. She’s not wrong.
No MPAA rating
Running time: 1 hour, 26 minutes
Playing: Laemmle NoHo 7, North Hollywood