Friday, September 9, 2016

THE LOST BOYS (1987) - ***


Rated R
Running time: 97 min.
Release date: July 31, 1987


The Lost Boys is a film that takes the vampire genre and adds in a mix of teen angst and a little bit of The Goonies. Director Joel Schumacher attempts to infuse some life into the vampire film by working with a mostly young cast. The result is a mostly entertaining affair that still leaves some questions unanswered, but at the very least you cannot call this film dull. 

Recently divorced mom of two, Lucy (Dianne Weist), has just moved to Santa Carla, a seaside community on the California coast. It's the "murder capital of the world" according to some graffiti on the reverse side of a billboard. She is accompanied by her two sons, Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam (Corey Haim). They move in with Lucy's father (Barnard Hughes), who appears to be an eccentric old hippy who practices taxidermy on the side. The boys check out the Santa Carla nightlife, specifically a boardwalk carnival that contains the sexiest sax player ever known to man. Michael becomes enamored with the flirtatious Star (Jami Gertz), who is in a relationship with David (Keifer Sutherland), the leader of a local gang. Meanwhile, Sam befriends two brothers operating a comic book store. They are Edgar and Alan Frog (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander, respectively) and they warn Sam of vampires by having him check out vampire-themed comics. 

David goads Michael into keeping up with the gang on his motorcycle, which leads to a near-death experience with a cliff. At this point, David offers Michael the chance to be one of them. As they hang out in a hotel that sunk into the cliffs due to earthquakes, Michaels drinks from a bottle that Star warns him is filled with blood. Soon after, Michael begins to undergo some rather startling changes, such as becoming transparent in mirrors and floating to the ceiling while he sleeps. David and the gang take Michael on a murderous trip to the beach, which has Michael running back home fearing for the lives of himself and his family. Meanwhile, mom Lucy has started a relationship with her new boss, Max (Edward Herrmann), who at first is suspected of being a vampire himself by Sam and the Frog Brothers, which leads to a disastrous dinner date. 

The Frog Brothers assist Sam in searching for the head vampire in order to save Michael's life. They use every trick they have learned from vampire comic books, including garlic, holy water, stakes, etc. One thing they conveniently forget, however, is to never invite a vampire into your home because it makes you powerless against them. The story has several other inconsistencies but it also fails to fully explore this world that these young vampires occupy. How long have these gang members been vampires? Decades? Centuries? What is it like to be eternally young? Questions like these are left unanswered within the context of the plot, leaving the viewing wanting to see a little more into this world. 

The performances by the young cast are very good. Keifer Sutherland chews the scenery quite well as David, the gang leader. Jason Patric is a strong lead, depicting a young man new to town, longing to belong in his new confines, and then struggling with the changes undergoing within him. Jami Gertz alternates between flirty and conflicted in an uneven performance. Corey Haim is energetic and Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander have good comedic timing. Joel Schumacher paces his film very quickly, as it doesn't take time to dwell too long on events unfolding. However, Schumacher struggles with the tone of the film as it switches gears from gothic horror to comedy too quickly.

Overall, The Lost Boys is an entertaining film, flaws aside. With a solid young cast, some good visual effects and quick moving story, the film doesn't bore. The plot may be thin and the tone uneven, but these flaws are forgivable if you have a watchable story, and that is exactly what Schumacher has provided. Plus, you try and resist the pulsating hips of a muscular, oiled-up saxophonist. 80's movie soundtracks are nothing short of awesome.

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