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  Rise Give Me The Night
Year: 2007
Director: Sebastian Gutierrez
Stars: Lucy Liu, Michael Chiklis, James D'Arcy, Carla Gugino, Mako, Elden Henson, Samaire Armstrong, Marilyn Manson, Allan Rich, Cameron Richardson, Christina Stacey, Kevin Wheatley, Holt McCallany, Paul Cassell, Natsuko Ohama, Nick Lachey, Robert Forster
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Sadie Blake (Lucy Liu) lives by night, but that's because the ex-Los Angeles newspaper reporter has no choice. Tonight she picks up a young prostitute calling herself Collette (Cameron Richardson) in a bar with the lure of cash and plenty of it, then takes her back to a mansion where she is invited to undress. But as she gets close to Sadie, she is asked whether her hands are clean, the ordered to go into the shower and wash them before they can proceed. However, this is a trap and once in the cubicle it closes on her and soon Collette is hanging upside down, panicking...

But don't worry, Sadie won't let anything terrible happen to her, well, apart from what has already happened, because she actually using her as bait for an elderly va - oops, nearly said a bad word there. This is down to the "V" word not being allowed to pass anyone's lips in Rise, a bit like the "M" word in The Godfather, or more pertinently the "V" word in Innocent Blood. But, yes, there are bloodsuckers here and yes, Sadie is one of them, although her overriding lust is not for the red stuff but for good old-fashioned vengeance on the creature of the night who put her in this position.

There's a film noir aspect to the film, and not simply because most of the action takes place in an atmospheric gloom, attractively shot by cinematographer John Toll in a manner which makes this look more expensive than it actually is. So with that in its favour, what else can the film offer? Just more atmosphere, really, its strongest suit being to have Liu creep through shadowy rooms and look elegantly pissed off. The structure starts out non-linear so we're treated to scenes of Sadie before she was bitten, and a cheery thing she was too: the leading lady has evidently been instructed to vary her performance depending on the stage of undeadness she is playing.

Rise actually begins more like a variation on the torture horrors of the day, and ends like that too, but only in a limited fashion and most of the horribleness is implied, such as Sadie's body being drained of blood and then ravaged as she is transformed. Who by? Why the dastardly duo of Bishop (James D'Arcy) and Eve (Carla Gugino), and she spends the rest of the film hunting them down to get her own back. She wins an unlikely ally in bitter cop Clyde Rawlins (Michael Chiklis) whose daughter fell prey to the bad guys, but at first he thinks Sadie is one of them.

Which she is, but not on their side. Sadie strikes a diminutive yet imposing figure as she stalks through the night, not with a cross, stake and mallet but with a dinky crossbow which she boasts she can load in four seconds. Appearing in this twilight world are a few famous faces in small roles: Robert Forster is there in the introduction, failing to pick up Collette and Marilyn Manson turns up as a barman, but these are largely distractions and when it comes to the main storyline it's all about the vengeance. Trouble is, in spite of using the horror genre to tell a thriller tale, Rise is overfamiliar stuff, and you never have a sense of a mysterious subculture infesting the darkness, just the odd pocket of deviants who Sadie will eliminate with flair, but not much more than that. Music by Nathan Barr.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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