Sunset Society


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Sunset Society
"One of this year's worst films, and one that longstanding fans of heavy metal are likely to find terribly endearing."

The first rule of Sunset Society is that you don't talk about Sunset Society. Or that you don't create new vampires without the other members' permission. Or that you don't kill children. It's not really very clear, because boss Ace (Lemmy) has been letting things go for years. Now he realises that this live and let die attitude may have got him in trouble, so he's called on an old friend (Ron Jeremy) to do whatever is necessary to recover an incriminating film which could put the society in danger.

Most of the story is told in flashback, but this makes sense in context and is handled unpretentiously - one of the few good bits of script work in the film. What takes place within the flashback is clearly intended to be twisty thriller stuff, but a lot of it just consists of middle aged guys sitting around reflecting on their youth, with or without scantily clad young women climbing on them and blood squirting around. Nobody can act and, given the dialogue, that's probably a mercy. The result is one of this year's worst films, and one that longstanding fans of heavy metal are likely to find terribly endearing.

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Proof positive that charisma on stage does not always translate into charisma on screen, Sunset Society is charming in its depiction of the rubbishness that's as much a part of vampire - and rockstar - lives as it is part of other people's. Lemmy mumbles his lines in a distracted way that's often inadvertently hilarious. Other performers forget theirs halfway through, completing sentences with sudden expressions of triumph. Accused of screwing up by breaking the rules - something that could cost him his eternal life - one vampire responds in a downbeat way, "I know. That's why this is really freaking me out just now." The male characters seem permanently stoned whilst female characters engage in porn-style lesbian liaisons that are all tongues and stroking (albeit still not quite as unrealistic as the one in in Blue Is The Warmest Colour). There's also an odd subplot involving the transference of an unhappy vampire into a mortal body which goes precisely nowhere. One gets the distinct impression that parts of the story were still being worked out whilst the film was being shot.

The soundtrack of course, will appeal to fans of the several musicians in the cast, and stands up in its own right even though it's not particularly well fitted around the action. Outdoor scenes are mostly shot at night and not very well lit, though one, in which a new vampire is being warned about the perils of exposure to daylight, has clearly been shot in full sunlight with an unconvincing 'night' filter over the lens (there is rarely any evidence of more than one camera). Some of the indoor scenes suggest conscious, if clich├ęd, set design, but it's difficult to express how brilliant this would need to be to rescue the film on an artistic level.

Overall, Sunset Society is the sort of thing you might expect to find used as a doorstop in an old abandoned video rental shop, which, depending on your inclination, you will want to kick on your way out or take home to treasure and watch over and over again.

Reviewed on: 03 Jul 2018
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The head of a secret vampire society in Los Angeles becomes concerned that they are at risk of exposure.
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Director: Phoebe Dollar, Rolfe Kanesfky

Writer: Phoebe Dollar, Rolfe Kanesfky

Starring: Lemmy Kilmister, Ron Jeremy, Phoebe Dollar, Tracii Guns, Dizzy Reed, Steve-O, Robert Donavan

Year: 2018

Runtime: 90 minutes

Country: US


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