Monday, June 22, 2015

From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) review


   This half crime drama and half Grindhouse type horror movie proves that when two great minds come together, gold is made. With excellent performances by an all-star cast, campy special effects, hilarious dialogue, and intelligent plot execution, From Dusk Til Dawn makes its place as an instant classic in the horror world and in both Quentin Tarentino and Robert Rodriguez's fantastic film canon.

PLOT: Wanted bank robbers Seth Gecko (George Clooney) and Richard Gecko (Quentin Tarentino) have plans to travel into Mexico to flee the law and continue their lives without bother. To help on their journey across the border, the Gecko brothers take a vacationing family hostage, including faithless pastor, Jacob Fuller (Harvey Keitel) and his children, Kate (Juliette Lewis) and Scott (Ernest Liu). Once across the border, the unlikely posse stops at a shady bar and strip club open from dusk until dawn, known as the Titty Twister, whose main customers turn out to be more than expected. The customers turn out, unbelievably, to be vampires thrown into a frenzy by the scent of blood. Now the Gecko brothers, the Fuller family, and their new bar friends, Sex Machine (Tom Savini) and Frost (Fred Williamson), must fight their way through the night until the sun comes up at dawn. The plot is unique and very excellently executed. The switch from Tarentino's crime drama to Rodriguez's vampire flick is obvious, but fun to watch. The whole movie is a lot of fun and excellently thought out for the movie that it really is.

ACTING: The performances in this film are not only supplied by an all-star cast, but they are also excellently and professionally done. Clooney and Tarentino made a charismatic, professional acting team creating a presence of a stoic older brother and a loony younger brother as well as an epic criminal team. Harvey Keitel and Juliette Lewis also did a great job creating a very real family with issues to work out, as well as Ernest Liu in his first role. Everyone in this movie did a fantastic job of performing, from the leads to the supporting cast, including movie veterans Cheech Marin, Salma Hayek, Tom Savini, and Danny Trejo (who would later come to play Machete).

SCORE: The soundtrack and score in this movie was excellently crafted, signalling the many mood changes with rockin' artists. The soundtrack contains the music from rock greats, ZZ Top, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and The Blasters while also introducing the bar bad, Tito & Tarantula with excellent action score by Graeme Revell. The soundtrack is probably one of the best, among the ranks of Pulp Fiction and Dazed and Confused.

EFFECTS: The special effects in this movie are cheap but fun. The effects are made to be cheap and campy, bringing on a familiar Evil Dead-esque feel. They aren't professionally done, but they do their job in securing their type as a Rodriguez exploitation film.

OTHER CONTENT: This movie succeeds as both a crime drama and Grindhouse horror film. The two great directors, Quentin Tarentino and Robert Rodriguez, come together to make greatness. Almost as if they split the movie in half, you can tell when one man's vision ends and the other man's begins. Along with tall of the achievements this movie has scored for me, it also brings home excellent dialogue from sarcastic jokes to clever references. The movie is also affected by very professional direction and editing, bringing out the color in everything. This movie, to say the least, is a lot of fun to watch and a treat for horror fans. However, it wasn't made to be perfect. It's not a movie for everybody and it really isn't made to be taken seriously. I really like the movie, but it's not a milestone in cinema, just a treat for fans everywhere.

   From Dusk Till Dawn is a treat for Grindhouse and Tarentino fans everywhere, blending horror and drama together in an engaging, fun, campy movie experience with expert acting, an awesome soundtrack, and a pair of geniuses behind the wheel.

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