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The Lost Boys

The 1987 horror film directed by Joel Schumacher.

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Lost in the Shadows

  • Dec 5, 2010
**1.2 out of ****

Aside from the fact that it's all style and no substance, "The Lost Boys" still services well as a decent vampire flick. It's better than most vampire films set in the modern setting, and certainly surpasses one's typical expectations out of a teen vampire flick. The biggest problem here is the story, which could have served as the substance. The script simply doesn't have any of the style that the visuals have, and descends into near cheesy madness. It's full of the same Hollywood cliches that we know and hate, and they remain in the film consistently throughout. At least the style's there to help though, although it nearly becomes all there is to this flawed night at the movies. But as you can see, it is more than just a stylish film. It is entertaining and therefore watchable and never seems to have a relatively dull moment (despite the dullness of the plot, which surprisingly doesn't stop me from admiring the entertainment on display here). The film mixes good humor with vampire themes as well as some pretty solid performances throughout. And that reminds me, this film is also lacking the horror that it promises. Perhaps it isn't trying hard at all to be frightening, but if it is then it's doing a pretty lousy job. This is no "fright night at the movies", although it packs a decent thrill. And the grand finale (which is abundant with vampires and blood) could have been strong to the point where it made the film feel at least the slightest bit scarier. But alas, there's nothing much to think about intellectually when it's all said and done. It is simple minded yet entertaining, and that's exactly why it is dubbed a cult classic. I personally don't know if I'm in favor of calling it a "classic", although I do know that it's much better than some will say. Like most cult classics, it is not for everyone. But for the most part, it's fine with me. At least it's not trying to make a statement.

Sam and Michael are two brothers who move with their mother to the fictional California coastal town of Santa Carla. Adapting to this new home is hard enough, although the pair of siblings soon learn that there are greater forces at work. Michael follows a girl named Star and stumbles across a "biker gang" which she hangs around with often. After Michael is invited by David (the leader) to the gang's "lair", strange things begin to occur. David offers Michael a liquid which is thought to be wine, although it is really blood. This blood instantly turns Michael into a half-vampire, although he must make his first kill to become whole. In the mean time, the mother of the family is finding new love while the youngest son befriends two comic book store employees who have a lot on their minds. The gang of bikers is revealed to be vampires, and they want Michael to join in on their schemes. Sam is convinced by his new-found acquaintances that vampires roam the boardwalks of their new home, and he is determined to stop them at all costs. Michael, being a half-vampire, can easily control himself unless he has a sudden thirst for blood. If he has this "thirst", then he could easily kill his brother and of course come to senses afterwords. But he doesn't, because he and Sam have a plan. And it involves garlic, holy water, and the two guys from the comic book store. The story itself is simple minded and often times boring. None the less, the film itself is entertaining. It's never scary and/or haunting, although it has enough humor and wit to carry the fire for long enough. Long story short, it's a somewhat worthwhile experience for all those who feel that there is no hope left for the vampire genre. But beware. The film is a Hollywood cliche ready to happen. So expect an ending where there's a bunch of blood explosions and everyone dies and a character is revealed to be a head vampire. I've explained so much, yet I haven't spoiled anything. See what I did there?

The casting for this film is in many senses "just right". While not everyone is particularly good, others are more than enough to suffice as satisfaction. I'll start with the good, I guess. Corey Haim (RIP) is pretty good as the younger of the two brothers, and Jason Patric is just as good as the eldest. Edward Herrmann is actually pretty solid for the little time that he's given (even if I would have preferred his character NOT to be a blood sucking bastard). Kiefer Sutherland is possibly the best actor out of all of the young talents on display. His performance is truly unique, and sinisterly endearing. Corey Feldman is also pretty darn funny as a so-called vampire hunter. Now for the "not so good". Dianne Wiest is as mediocre as ever and Barnard Hughes isn't as funny as he wants to be. And then there's everyone else. Need I really say everyone's name? Does it REALLY matter? No, I don't think it does.

"The Lost Boys" has style and grace, no questions asked. You cannot deny that the visual style is unique and interesting throughout. The cinematography is pretty good although never particularly unique. There's CGI in play here, but none of it is revolutionary. None the less, this film has nice vibes all around. The music sure as hell provides some effectiveness to the already stylish experience that is this film. The action sequences help the slightest bit, although I would have liked it better if the film tried harder to have a dramatic edge rather than one of horror. In that sense, I feel that the film is devoid of the scares that some say it apparently has. I disagree big time, although I walked away with only the thought of simply how "cool" some of the moments were. Otherwise, this is nothing special compared to other action/horror blending flicks, but it's better than the modern day vampire flick "Twilight". Essentially it's that movie with more edge in every direction (aside from a story).

"The Lost Boys" is PRETTY decent and entertaining aside from the terribly clichéd story. It drives me to near madness, although at last minute I can cope with such a decent film. It doesn't do the genre a lot of justice, although it doesn't by any means insult it either. Some of the vampires are slick and cool, although that's hardly enough to make this film awesome. I'm not going to prevent you from seeing it, although I can only recommend it for the style of it all. That's right, nothing else. The story is almost bogus and it's not scary. Simply put, it isn't a classic, but it's entertaining and one of Joel Schumacher's best works to date (considering he's a dud by all means). I can however appreciate the effort that he put into making "The Lost Boys" a potential cult classic, and by all means he probably succeeded. But the film ended and left me with nothing more than the feeling that I've seen that type of Hollywood ending before, and therefore I was somewhat unconvinced. But at least it wasn't bad (hell, it wasn't close to being "bad"), and it's got some good visuals and acting to go along with the mix of humor and blood. It might as well be what it is, and that is a decent vampire flick that successfully captures the feel of a genuinely classy 80's film. So kudos to you, Schumacher, for doing that. But I still hate you.

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December 08, 2010
This was good for what it was, but the sequels were horrible. Nice review!
December 08, 2010
I bet.
More The Lost Boys reviews
Quick Tip by . December 17, 2010
A really cool vampire flick that laughed at itself but never ventured into spoof territory.
Quick Tip by . November 29, 2010
What a great '80s horror film! It's got a gang of vampire teenagers, comedy, action, horror, and an awesome soundtrack. Can't go wrong here.
review by . December 02, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: ...     Cons: ...     The Bottom Line:   "When you're strange   Faces come out of the rain   When you're strange   No one remembers your name"  ~The Doors       When I ordered this from NetFlix I thought it was another release but I was mildly surprised at how well I enjoyed this movie instead.   It certainly isn't your usual vampire flick but geared up and more …
review by . October 28, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
The Lost Boys practically defines 80s teens movies as a horror movie with a gtreat teen cast. Two Brothers, Sam (Haim) and Mike (Patric) move with their newly divorced mom (Wiest) from Phoenix to Santa Carla, a place where, if the corpses were to all stand up at once, there'd be one hell of a population problem, as their goofy backwoods grandfather (Bernard Hughes) explains.     Mike is the first to find out why when his interest in a girl suddenly lures him into a world of trouble …
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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About this movie


One of the better vampire films about two new-in-town brothers who discover a local gang of motorcycle youths are more undead than alive. Younger brother Sam (Corey Haim) works hard to eradicate the ghoulies but his older brother (Jason Patric) falls in love with the bunch's lone female (Jami Gertz). Soon, he finds that he's gradually becoming a vampire himself. An interesting candy-coated meditation on teen conformity with a great rock soundtrack.
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Director: Joel Schumacher
Genre: Horror
Release Date: July 31, 1987
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: January 28, 1998
Runtime: 97 minutes
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
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