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Hammer has risen from the grave,
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This review is from: Beyond The Rave [DVD] (DVD)
Soldier Ed(Jamie Dornan), on the eve of being called up to fight in Iraq, joins best mate Necro(Matthew Forrest) and together they go looking for an all night rave. Not any old rave, but one organised by Melech(Sebastian Knapp) who just happens to have taken Ed's girlfriend Jen(Nora-Jane Noone) along for the ride. Melech has his own plans for the night, plans that involve the participation of some very unwilling subjects....
So here we have it. After years of rumours and dissapointments, Hammer films have returned. Fans of British horror have been teased and titilated about this prospect for some time now, so there was a great sense of expectation when the rumour became a reality. After the expectation came the dismay, with many voices calling 'Beyond The Rave' an insult to the memory of the 'real' Hammer films, and also seemingly outing the new Hammer as charlatans and imposters. Well, two years on, and Hammer are about to make a long overdue film adaptation of Susan Hill's classic spine chiller 'The Woman In Black' as well as a remake of the brilliant vampire film 'Let The Right One In'. So perhaps Beyond The Rave could be described as a tasty titbit whetting the appetite for the main course.
So, just how successful was this attempt to merge the vampire mythology with the modern rave culture. Well, in my opinion, its a great little 'film'(on this dvd, the episodes are all presented together, but with their own titles). I found it to be stylish, witty and very atmospheric in places. I think those who were horrified by the name of Hammer being associated with this were probably expecting a gothic horror, maybe even a remake of one of Hammer's past glories. What we have instead is Hammer bringing itself bang up to date. I think the traditionalists should also remember that in the 70's Hammer brought out many interesting and quite experimental horrors.
One of the most successful aspects of Beyond The Rave is the attempt to draw parralels between the addictions of the ravers and the vampires. Both groups are very much creatures of the night, the only difference being that the vampires feed on the blood through necessity. Throughout the film there are some pretty striking scenes. One that stands out in particular is when the crowd of ravers cheer as a vampire above them swoops down for a kill, the applause rising as they are showered with blood, thinking it a cool party trick. Another great sequence is when the ravers having been sedated with gas, watch helplessly as the vampires feed on their friends.
There are a number of excellent performances to be found throughout the episodes. Probably the real standout is Trevor Byfield as the suave, sinister Leopold. Byfield steals every scene that he's in. Tamer Hassan and Lee Whitlock are great as a couple of gangsters who take on the vampires and sadly consigned only to the bonus scens is Steve Sweeney who is a real hoot as the very, very crusty Tooley, a drug dealer who keeps his stash in the cavity of a stuffed dog. Of interest to Hammer fans, Ingrid Pitt turns up in this bonus scene as Tooley's mother. I could go on, as Beyond The Rave is crammed full with top notch performances.
As mentioned in the last paragraph there are some great bonus scenes in the extras on the disc. It's a real shame that they didn't make it into the episodes proper. Also included in the extras is an extra episode entitled 'Necro's First Kill'. A terrific little episode this, that ows as much if not more to Pete Walker as it does to 'classic' Hammer.
This is a fantastic release, a great main event supported by a wealth of extras. I could not possibly give it any less than the full 5 out of 5. Recommended.