May 25, 2015


Movies

Being a vampire is so draining

Can a morose teenage vampire with a yearning for friends -- and an aggressively indie soundtrack to differentiate him from other such teenage vampires -- find happiness with the girl next door, even if she is the town slut?

That's the conundrum in Rufus, a Canadian version (i.e., the boy's transformation into vampire kind of sucks, if you'll pardon the expression) of an old story. Rufus certainly won't generate the sexual heat, or the box-office glory, of the Twilight franchise, but it's not meant to.

Eone films
As if vampirism weren�t bad enough, now Rufus (Rory Saper) has to take the bus.

Eone films As if vampirism weren�t bad enough, now Rufus (Rory Saper) has to take the bus.

This is a combination coming-of-age story, romance and analysis of small-town culture: three movies in one, for one low admission price. Rufus also cuts costs by having the vampire become something of a werewolf, too -- he grows claws and growls -- which saves one entire salary.

As for the plot, well, it was probably just a matter of time before the vampire legend ran up against an expos© of Big Pharma, and it took a little Saskatchewan film to do it.

It starts when Rufus (British newcomer Rory J. Saper) arrives in tiny Conrad, (actually Dunburn, Sask.) on the run from something. He's a morose kid with hair that flops fetchingly over one eye, and he is adopted by the local cop Hugh (David James Elliott) and his wife Jen (Kelly Rowan), who have morose issues of their own -- a dead son who, if I'm not mistaken, would be around Rufus's age now -- adding to the general malaise.

It's hardly lifted by Tracy (Merritt Patterson), the girl next door who spots the new kid in town and has him in her house and naked before you can say Parental Guidance.

Vampires, which battle zombies as the go-to metaphor for our age of global collapse, have their symbolic work cut out for them, and Rufus has an especially heavy load to carry. Hesitant, lonely, unlettered, lost and saddled with non-standard powers -- he doesn't burst into flames in the sun -- Rufus must also fill several roles in Conrad.

He's a missing son, a fill-in lover, an object of desire to all who meet him (straight guys apparently turn gay at the very sight of him), and protector of women's virtue, even though his claws are kind of dopey and his growling attacks on people's necks have all the menace of someone pouring ketchup onto his plate, which also happens, come to think of it.

Writer/director Dave Schultz stretches out this somewhat languorous -- not to say somnambulant -- material to almost two hours by adding a villain.

He's Van Dusen (Sons of Anarchy's Kim Coates in a creepily menacing performance), who is seeking Rufus for reasons of corporate malfeasance that complicate the film but add a important contemporary issue: how far can a drug company go to create a world with no sickness?

The question of how this would affect its bottom line is not addressed, but this is just a teenage vampire movie, after all.

Meanwhile, the bodies pile up as Rufus meanders somewhat aimlessly through his life, trying miserably to "fit in" and fending off sexual advances at every turn, while showing his prowess at baseball, of all things. It doesn't seem to fit with Saper's English accent.

As for the girl next door stuff, there's the expected trouble but love conquers all, even in the sexually ambiguous precincts depicted in Rufus. Him: "I haven't slept with half the town." Her: "No, but given the chance, you'd probably eat them." Or gloom them to death.

-- Postmedia News

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 27, 2013 G10

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.

Winnipeg Free Press | @WinnipegNews

May 25 6:42 pm

Family and friends gather to mourn Teresa Cassandra Robinson wfp.to/Rlj

Winnipeg Free Press | @WinnipegNews

May 25 6:34 pm

Selinger questioned about kicking Melnick out of caucus wfp.to/Rl6

Winnipeg Free Press | @WinnipegNews

May 25 6:18 pm

Morrissey, Kostalek have long way to go before claiming permanent spot with Jets wfp.to/RlN

Winnipeg Free Press | @WinnipegNews

May 25 5:28 pm

Man pleads not guilty to manslaughter for fatal bathhouse fire wfp.to/Rl0

Mike McIntyre | @mikeoncrime

May 25 5:23 pm

Jury trial underway today for man accused of setting Winnipeg bathhouse on fire way back in 2009, killing 2 patrons.

Scroll down to load more

Top