The Brotherhood II: Young Warlocks (2001)

Starring Forrest Cochran, Sean Faris, Stacey Scowley, Jennifer Capo, Justin Allen, C.J. Thomason, Noah Frank, Greg Lyczkowski, Julie Briggs, Ari Welkom, Holly Sampson

Directed by David DeCoteau

Expectations: Moderately high. The first was pretty good and I like David DeCoteau.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:


I thoroughly enjoyed the first Brotherhood film, so my internal hype set me up to be somewhat disappointed with The Brotherhood II: Young Warlocks. Regardless of this, there’s no denying that the sequel is very entertaining. Anyone who enjoyed the first film is likely to enjoy this one as well. Both films follow similar structures, and I don’t know if the differences are distinct enough to build a sequel on, but both films are entertaining in their own ways and that’s what really matters, right?

The first Brotherhood is about vampires, so I honestly expected the whole series to be vampire-based. I don’t watch trailers or think too much about these movies before I watch them, but I guess I should have taken that Young Warlocks subtitle a little more seriously. The sequel’s mythology delves into witches and warlocks (but mostly just warlocks), and this is both brilliant and somewhat frustrating. I loved the secret society of the first film and I had hoped to go a little deeper into that. At the same time, the idea of a low-budget horror franchise based around a variety of college secret societies and their unique mythologies is wonderfully inspired and respectable.

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The Brotherhood (2001)

thebrotherhood_1AKA I’ve Been Watching You

Starring Sam Page, Josh Hammond, Bradley Stryker, Elizabeth Bruderman, Forrest Cochran, Michael Lutz, Donnie Eichar

Directed by David DeCoteau

Expectations: Low.

On the general scale:
twostar

On the B-movie scale:
threestar


The Brotherhood is a perfect example of a B-Movie that I would have never fully appreciated a few years ago. As a David DeCoteau film, it’s one of his most accomplished, and when seen right alongside the work he did for Full Moon around this time, The Brotherhood stands out as something unique. The films for Charles Band were work for hire, crafting movies for Full Moon as it tried to stay afloat in the changing video market. The Brotherhood was the film that launched DeCoteau’s own Rapid Heart Pictures, and its differing style and focus feels as if DeCoteau was finally making a film for himself (as a producer). This is a subtlety that would’ve remained obscured for me a few years ago, so I’m glad to have come to this pivotal DeCoteau film at just the right time.

In terms of general story, The Brotherhood is a standard tale about an innocent being drawn into the darkness. He is courted and converted as expected, but here it’s more about the specifics than the overall. This is a vampire story, but it replaces almost all the traditional vampire tropes with a brand new, enchanting mythology. Ritual elements figure prominently, and all the afflicted wear a medallion called a taltra (which means Eternal Hunter). It serves as symbol and identifier, as well as a functional purpose in their feeding rituals. Vampire films are fairly stuffy and stale at this point, but The Brotherhood is a wonderfully imaginative take on the classic monster. It’s also constructed in such a way that a great moral lays beneath the vampire angle, telling a tale of finding yourself in college and how falling in with a charismatic leader can define your identity (for good or bad).

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Final Stab (2001)

Final Stab (2001)
AKA Final Scream, Du bist tot!, Scream 4 (Bootleg Title), Scream 4: Final Chapter (Bootleg Title)

Starring Jamie Gannon, Melissa Reneé Martin, Erinn Hayes, Laila Reece Landon, Bradley Stryker, Chris Boyd, Forrest Cochran, Michael Lutz, Brannon Gould, Donnie Eichar, Scott Hudson, Britt Soderberg

Directed by David DeCoteau

Expectations: Low. Scream clone? No thanks.

On the general scale:

On the B-Movie scale:


Along the path to reviewing all of Full Moon’s films, I’ll also be reviewing some related stuff that’s not exactly a Full Moon film. This is one of those, but it was supposedly executively produced by Charles Band (uncredited) and it’s directed by David DeCoteau, one of Full Moon’s most prolific directors back in the ’80s and ’90s. He has continued to work with Charles Band off and on after that period, but mostly he’s off on his own making low-budget horror flicks starring as many hot young people as he can find. This is one of those movies, and from the poster and alternate titles you might gather that it’s a Scream clone. It does share some of the self-aware character types of the Scream series, as well as the simple idea of a knife-wielding killer (who’s definitely one of these teens) running around in a Halloween mask, but actually its plot is more like a self-aware April Fool’s Day. Oh, and technically these people aren’t teens, they’re college students, but y’know… same difference in a horror movie.

Final Stab is about a murder mystery weekend in which people are actually getting killed. The thing is, unlike April Fool’s Day, we’re in on the joke almost immediately. This awareness on the part of the characters and the audience allows for some interesting situations, but ultimately it does take a lot of the tension out of the film. This knowledge subverts the general horror trope of running from the killer though, as each character knows the killer to be fake, they all greet him with a “Hey, man, how’s it going in that suit?” or some approximation of this kind of small talk.

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