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UMBRAGE: THE FIRST VAMPIRE (2009) - Film Review


To be released next month, with a strange concoction of fantasy, horror, and western; Drew Cunningham’s 2009 film UMBRAGE features a charismatic Irish cowboy vampire, a dysfunctional family, and a couple of backpackers who stray from the road (a definite nod to American Werewolf). I had no reason to believe that this low budget flick with its strange mixture of ingredients would hold my attention for 90 minutes. UMBRAGE is an intriguing and ambitious offering which although far from perfect, had me captured, and compelled me to watch.

Crammed with the atmosphere and style usually reserved for more high budget movies; Umbrage flits from the old west to modern day England with a reasonable amount of finesse. When antiques dealer
Jacob (Doug Bradley - AKA Pinhead) moves into a secluded farm house with his pregnant wife, Lauren (Grace Vallorini) and his unhappy teenage stepdaughter, Rachel (Rita Ramnani) he is in for the night of his life. The accidental summoning of demons from the past, the addition of two strangers who stumble through his door with a tale of horror, and a dark figure lurking in the barn; Caught up in a centuries-old feud between good and evil; this will be a night to remember – if only they can survive!
Umbrage is by no means flawless. It flits about a little too much and there are elements of humour that I’m not sure are intended. The miss – mash of styles is a little off putting, almost like they couldn’t decide on the genre and so decided to use them all. Umbrage doesn’t feel seamless; it’s disjointed in places and maybe tries to do too much.

Now to the good points; Jonnie Hurn plays the Irish cowboy vampire, Phelan with so much charisma and style that it is difficult not to like him. I enjoyed every second that he was on screen. Doug Bradley and the rest of the cast are also on the money, the only below par actor is seen off pretty early in the film, which leaves a solid cast. The cinematography is impressive with an interesting music score which strangely matches the film’s many themes. 

The gore fans amongst you will be a tad let down by Umbrage, as most of the blood is left off-screen. But there is certainly enough of a story to hold the attention of fantasy horror fans for the duration. I wouldn’t rush out to buy the DVD, but if it turned up on telly one night; Umbrage, in a nut shell, is worth a watch. 

UMBRAGE 2009. WRITER/DIRECTOR: Drew Cullingham CAST: Doug Bradley, Rita Ramnani, Jonnie Hurn, Natalia Celino, Grace Vallorini.

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