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STUDIO: MTI Home Video
RUNNING TIME: 91 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES: None
It’s La Femme Nikita meets Blade, as recounted by a retarded Dungeons & Dragons enthusiast.
Claudia Coulter, Stephanie Beacham, Jason Tompkins, Tom Dover, Magda Rodriguez.
Rebecca (Coulter)is an ordinary wife and mother who is attacked by a vampire. Near death, she is quickly abducted by Project 571, a government experiment, which turns her into a genetically engineered vampire. She’s then trained to hunt down and destroy evil. But when the project itself is destroyed by vampires, Rebecca is sent on a mission by the project’s successors to find an ancient book in order to stop another vampire, Hugo Renoir, from unleashing dark forces upon the Earth.
This is pretty much how the film will leave you.
I’ve covered plenty of low-budget DVDs here at CHUD. Generally one has to make allowances for lack of funding on a film, especially in regards to any special effects. But if the story is solid, or the performances memorable, or if the picture is directed with originality and/or gusto, then the financial shortcomings can be ignored. Sadly, Witches Hammer has none of those things going for it, and ends up being a just barely interesting, but overall mess of a mish-mashed genre film. First of all, it tries to mix the premises of La Femme Nikita, Blade and witches into an action film, which might have been interesting, if the story was written with a hint of cohesion or direction, but it’s not. Basically, it has a superheroine vampire who works for a government agency, out on a quest for a mystical witch’s book (the titular Hammer), encountering hostile vamps, witches and demons along the way.
Surprised Blade never thought of this.
The main issue with the movie is that it doesn’t really know what it wants to be, a straight up action film, a dark genre pic, slapstick comedy, or a buddy / roadtrip film. Thus, it tries to be all of them and succeeds at none of them. I will say that Coulter is somewhat affecting as Rebecca. I’m not familiar with her nor her background, but had she had a script with any sense of itself, she might have been able to do something with the role. But she gets lost in the shenanigans in which she finds herself and can’t survive the experience. There is everything thrown in here: vamps, witches, demons, sorcery, even some murdered clowns. I really don’t know what writer/director/producer James Eaves (Bane, Alice) was going for here, but I’m fairly sure he didn’t achieve it. Not even a minor role from genre vet, Stephanie Beacham, as Rebecca’s boss is worth catching. It’s little wonder this film sat on the shelf for three years.
Not sure if it was just the demo DVD I got or if the film really came out like this, but Witches Hammer looks and sounds awful. Both its filming and transfer have shadows, artifacting and a grainy, old VHS look; and the audio is so maddeningly low at times I would have gone to the subtitles, if it had any. Feel free to skip this one