From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Directed by Robert Rodriguez
Starring: George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, Quentin Tarantino
Robert Rodriguez has been around for 20 years, making films like The Faculty and Sin City. He’s also worked with Quentin Tarantino on a number of movies including Desperado and Grindhouse. This time they came together to write the story for From Dusk Till Dawn. Once the story was together Rodriguez got behind the camera. In addition to Tarantino, the movie stars George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, and Juliette Lewis.
Seth and Richard Gecko (Clooney and Tarantino) are bad guys for hire. They’re on the run from the law after their most recent job and headed to Mexico looking for freedom. When they take the Fuller family (Keitel, Lewis, and Ernest Liu) hostage they head off to a seedy club where they’re hoping to cash in on their work. What they don’t realize is that the club is a haven for vampires. Now they’re stuck , hoping to survive until dawn.
This movie screams Tarantino for the first half, then the Rodriguez vibe kicks in a finishes in style. I think that the dialogue might be the best ever written for a horror film. The acting is great as well. Clooney and Tarantino have a good chemistry on the screen that makes the first half of the movie really entertaining. This chemistry continues into the rest of the film with the addition of Harvey Keitel. The rest of the cast all come together with this trio to make a really entertaining movie. This includes a couple of faces familiar to fans of Desperado, Salma Hayek and Cheech Marin.
Like all great horror films the thing I enjoyed was the totally ridiculous special effects and makeup used. The vampires look entirely different from what I expected. The blood and guts fly throughout the movie as well. There are bullets, lots of bullets. Finally, nothing really beats a guitar made from a human torso.
I really enjoyed this movie. It doesn’t have the same payoff that Tarantino gives in the movies he directs, but it still works nicely. Rodriguez does a good job with the script and the cast, creating a nice overall performance. He has always done a great job putting his signature on the visuals and this is no exception.
Like all horror films, there isn’t much to criticize that isn’t obvious to the viewer. I don’t think anyone should watch a horror film looking for an Oscar winner. I guess the number of horror films that win awards is rather small. (Carrie, The Shining, Jaws)
If you’re a fan of Tarantino, Rodriguez, or horror films this is one worth checking out. I know that Clooney has moved on to more serious roles, but this is a performance worth watching over and over. I give this one 4 out of 5 stars.