“Embrace the Darkness 3″ comes a year after the series’ first sequel (appropriately titled “Embrace the Darkness 2″, natch), and features an all-new cast, writer, but the same director. Seeing as how I cared very little for the direction and overall feel of the first sequel, I have small hope for Part 3 with director Robert Kubilos remaining at the helm. Wishing not to relive the horror that was the previous sequel, I will write this review as if that film never existed. And so…
Brooke Larele steps into the role of our leading lady, playing Jennifer, a freshly turned lass who can’t seem to control her hunger for blood. After dispatching her nagging vampire boyfriend in a most unromantic way, Jennifer runs into Victor (Ty Winston), a debonair vampire turned mysterious millionaire with a penchant for speaking like an old English Professor but with bad enunciation. Victor has plans for Jennifer and believes she may be a new breed of super vampire that can withstand sunlight, etc. Along the way, everyone strips off their clothes and engages in simulated sex.
“Embrace 3″ lacks any credible acting by all involved, which should be no surprise to anyone. The screenplay by Remington Underwood (Do you think he’s using a fake name by any chance?) would be considered “so bad it’s good” if it just wasn’t so God awful bad. In all fairness to Underwood, his already bad screenplay is probably made even more atrocious by thespians whose combined talent equals that of Mariah Carey and Madonna, sans singing careers.
With all of the above unpleasantries out of the way, does “Embrace 3″ make up for the waste of celluloid that was “Embrace 2?” Yes and no. Without the restraints of an R-rating to hold him back, this time director Kubilos is allowed to go full tilt with the sex, resulting in sex scenes that are more explicit but, like “Embrace 2″, still lacking where it matters most — passion. This, of course, is all in comparison to the original “Embrace the Darkness”; the comparison may be unfair, but there you have it.
Perhaps in an attempt to overcome his unskilled directing, Kubilos does manage to satisfy the series’ core audience with quantity. Where the film lacks in quality sexual trysts, it makes up in bulk. Everyone, it seems, has sex with each other at one point or another. In fact the film doesn’t go more than 5 minutes without someone stripping down to nothing. Apparently bookstores are fair game too, as a couple strips down to do the vertical mambo on a bookstore’s sofa at one point.
The obvious draw of movies in this subgenre aside (re: skin and more skin), I was not completely bored with the rest of the film. For a low budget production the movie does have some nifty special effects, mostly when vampires are killed. Toward the end, there’s even a hand-to-hand rumble between Jennifer and a group of Victor’s thugs inside a loft that, even if it doesn’t completely wow, at least left me with a stupid grin on my face.
As with “Embrace 2″, “Embrace 3″ does continue one rather annoying trend: its actors are not exactly the most attractive people out there. While I concede that it is difficult to hire talented actors for a softcore “erotic thriller,” I can’t accept that it’s hard to find beautiful actors for said genre. Many erotic thrillers have come before “Embrace 2″ and “3″ that showcased actors who were able to shed the “starving artist” label because of their looks, so I don’t understand this series’ gradual downgrade in aesthetics.
Robert Kubilos (director) / Remington Underwood (screenplay)
CAST: Brooke Larel, Ty Winston, Vanessa Lynch, Glen Meadows