Don’t quite count out the vampire genre just yet. Like the blood thirsty undead, the vampire genre just keeps resurrecting. Vampire films might be critically castrated for the majority of the time, but there are times when a vampire film just had a lot of heart, especially in a no to low-budget project like the film I’m reviewing in this article – The Caretaker. Directory Tom Conyers has no feature film directing experience. Actor Mark White has no feature film acting experience. Must can be said about the rest of the cast while a couple of them also worked in shorts and television series, but The Caretaker is a real test for the cast on such a venturous storyline.
Mosquito bites cause what many believe to be an epidemic of the flu in the area of Melbourne, Australia. What the residents of Melbourne believed were wrong…dead wrong. The bites cause the victims to turn into vampires that reaches out beyond the lines of Melbourne and spread across the world. A small, on-edge group of four humans hold up on a small vineyard plantation where a vampire has claimed his nest. In exchange for their protection during the day, the vampire offers his protection against his own kind at night. The tension is thick not only between human and vampire, but also between human and human.
Now not to rain down on The Caretaker’s parade even though I do like the movie, but I feel there is always too much melodrama. Melodrama seems to be a plague for many low-budget horror films just because the crew can’t add in top dollar special effects to entertain leaving a “talking head” movie syndrome inevitable. But I can divulge that the fact that in spite there being melodrama spewing from every orifice, this doesn’t make The Caretaker a bad movie. The characters are complex enough to welcome some of the “talking head” script. There are internal conflicts in the characters themselves and they are also projected upon the other survivors causing turmoil in the house or “nest.”
When I said that many low-budget horror films just don’t have the dough to afford high-tech special effects, I didn’t intend on that to mean that The Caretaker’s effects were awful. I rather enjoyed the effects as they were minimal and believable. Some effects make a movie campy, but The Caretaker was all serious business and took the vampire story on a different level with an earnest commitment. Mark White’s as the protective vampire Dr. Ford Grainger who never reveals a good side or an evil side. We just know he is a bad ass vampire vampire slayer. The human characters give off the same complexities with only Colin McPherson’s character Lester portraying anything that resembles a villain as the 50-year-old creepy vineyard owner who loves to chase after young women and that young woman happens to be the manic depressed Annie played by Anna Burgess. Guy and Ron round out the last of the characters played by Clint Dowdell and Lee Mason and these two are buddy buddy at first until Annie’s secret comes to the forefront and then it is game on between the four humans and the lone vampire.
The Caretaker won’t knock your socks off, but comes off as a decent vampire genre flick. Don’t expect flying body parts or gruesome scenes of vampire attacks with blood squirting in every direction. Take it in like a worth seeing television soap drama and try to see the heart in the center like I did. Then, after it is all over and you still didn’t care for The Caretaker, you can rip out that heart and eat with a side of lima beans and wash it down with a nice cold beer, but hey, at least you gave it a try, right?