Writer/Director Jason Davitt has two credits to his name. His 2011 film Vampires: Brighter in Darkness, and this sequel, Vampires: Lucas Rising. Davitt’s passion for the supernatural is the most rewarding takeaway from his films. The stories he is attempting to tell are well thought out and might fare well in literary form. However, the naiveté of the film takes away from the story.
Lucas Rising recaps Brighter in Darkness immediately before credits role. Our hero Lucas Delmore reminds us of the lore that a vampire can only truly fall in love once in their long existence. His true love is Toby Brighter who was captured and lost during a battle with the ‘Queen of the Immortals’, Lilith. In between the two movies, Lucas has been in the underworld searching for ‘decades’ for Toby to no avail. Time lines in this story are clumsy, as everything is a millennia, or decades, or centuries. While Lucas claims how long he was down there, the people on land such as Toby’s sister Charlotte don’t appear to have aged at all.
The cast from Brighter all return for Lucas Rising, which finds Mikal resurrecting Lucas to help stop Lilith from executing genocide on the human race. Lilith doesn’t explain why, but wants all humans to be her minions or to perish in the transition of becoming immortals. With the aid of Charlotte, a witch, and a couple members of her coven, Mikal convinces a disappointed Lucas – who still wants to roam the underworld searching for Toby – to join their cause to stop Lilith while looking for Toby through other means.
It was alleged that part of Davitt’s motivation for these stories was his disappointment of the total representation of gay and straight characters in the Twilight franchise. Well, did he ever make up for it, or what? Every male in this film is homosexual, with the exception of Toby’s father, and another vampire, who when asked by a female ‘Is every vampire gay?’ replies ‘No, some are just greedy’ while making eyes back at her. There is no representation of lesbians in this movie. While Lilith got awful close to a young protégé’s cleavage before biting her neck, there is no love story or romance between any female characters. Maybe we’re supposed to assume the stereotype that witches are lesbians.
As mentioned, the story line was appealing. Where is Toby? Will he return? Will he still love Lucas? If you have an interest in the supernatural, I’d recommend this material for reading. Unfortunately, some of the filmmaking took away from that. Now, I preface that amateur filmmaking should be applauded. I ask you to keep this in mind when watching any low budget film. Here, the audio and lighting were distracting in some parts. There’s hard to hear dialogue and overly loud dramatic stings. The visual effects (remember, no budget) look very much like Windows Movie Maker. The movie visually had a ‘bootleg’ quality to it. As for the talent, the actors’ lacked emotion in their voices, which led to flat performances. Evil Lilith (Abigail Law-Briggs) had the most range, and appeared to have the most fun in her role.
Without spoilers, Lucas Rising took a turn at the end that allows for a third installment in Davitt’s passion project. With only these two credits to his name in a 7-year span, I questioned if he is looking to become an active writer/director, or is just funding his way to bring his own creations to life. There is no wrong answer. Davitt’s writing is strong, and if a third movie isn’t made, let’s hope he turns to the page to give his fan following a final ending.