The Lost Boys Review: The Perfect Campy Vampire Movie
Watching The Lost Boys is exactly the kind of movie viewing experience that will leave you wondering: what on earth did I just watch? It’s a quaint little story about brothers moving to a different town and trying to adjust –except it has vampires in the story. Certainly an odd combo, but for the entire run of the film, you will be entertained and amused. Even the predictability of the plot feels like it is an inherent trait of the movie, an intentional feint added to show the viewers that even the movie is not taking itself seriously. The result, however is pretty effective, you find yourself more willing to ride along or accept even the silliest of explanations.
Small Town, Big Problems
The film revolves around Sam and his older brother Michael moving into the small town of Santa Carla, California. Not a backwater country, but not a particularly glamorous place either. With them is their mother who just got out of divorce. The three are going to move in with Sam’s grandfather. While wandering in town Michael encounters a small gang of boys led by David and his girlfriend Star (not surprisingly, Michael likes Star). They also meet a couple of odd guys named Edgar and Alan (let’s drop the Poe jokes for now) who claim to be vampire hunters.
Getting to the Juicy Bits
The movie pans out like a typical 80’s flick, so we’ll skim past all of that. Anyway, as it turns out, David is a vampire, and both Star and Michael have been turned into half vampires. Sam learns that as long as half vampires have not killed anyone, they will not turn into a full vampire (which seems to be recurring theme in other supernatural stories). He also learns that if they kill the main vampire in town, all the half-vampires will revert back to being human. Their first target for potential vampire main baddie is none other than Max, a pretty unassuming suspect and also, the person currently dating Sam and Michael’s mother. However, Max unknowingly passes a series of secret tests that the two brothers implement throughout their mom’s date (which turns the movie into something of a clumsy comedy for a few scenes).
Eventually, they confront David and high very 80’s gang of other teen vampires. As it turns out, Edgar and Alan really were vampire hunters and give the protagonists some help. They eventually beat David and realize that they were right about Max being the real main vampire all along –except that they misunderstood the whole “invite a vampire into the house” clause (which was how Max passed the tests in the first place). We won’t spoil how the film exactly ends, but know that it does with the same beat and spirit as the rest of the film (which means you will either see it coming a mile away or it will be a genuine surprise).
Vampire Street Cred
David and Max, for being vampires, are not your typical blood sucking men of mystery. They’re more like suburban weirdoes who live rather strange lives. And Sam, Michael, and Star just end up getting caught in the middle of it. But these guys are vampires complete with all the typical horror story touches (including a weakness to holy water which results in a scene with a tub-full of fun).
At no point does the movie feel genuinely scary however, and just rather puts the viewers more on danger alert –kind of like how one would feel walking down a slightly dangerous road but in the relative safety of broad daylight. The music is also partially to blame for this –it not only sounds dated, but also a little too upbeat and lively at many points.
Vampire fans will be happy to know that the actors (including Keifer) do a pretty bang up job at playing as vampires. They may be local kids who ended up in a gang, but there’s a certain touch of inhuman savageness in the way they move around. Max does a complete character turnaround in the end, playing well into his original disguise as a normal human.