How do you like your caretaker? A masked killer or a vampire? No worries because I’ve got one of each!
THE CARETAKER (2008)
Yay! A crappy slasher with Jennifer Tilly and Judd Nelson that takes place on Halloween/Homecoming (they fall on the same day). But don’t expect any Halloween spirit here. It’s simply about a group of teens that hops in a limo and skips the homecoming dance to hang out in a spooky abandoned house in an orchard.
Weird thing is, after the opening kill, it feels like you’re being thrust into a David DeCoteau film. Young pretty boys, shirtless, working out.
Soon after, there are female jugs and one of the best moments of the film; “boob o’ lanterns.” Amazing. You have to see it. I couldn’t help but wonder if the trick works on fake boobs in real life….
Not much in the way of blood here, just the old swing of the weapon—a fruit-picking tool in this case—and occasionally a splash of red. It’s definitely PG-13 slasher stuff. And the killer seriously looks like an old granny dressed in her sunhat and gardening gloves for a day amongst the flowers.
There are flashbacks as the boys tell the girls an urban legend about the horrible things that once happened in the abandoned house. There’s a very handsome but pervy limo driver, played by Jeepers Creepers himself, Jonathan Breck.
There’s some fart humor, some killer POV, and the most effective part of the film—occasional glimpses of the killer in the background.
And then there’s Jennifer Tilly. In one of the most ridiculous cameos ever, she’s a horny teacher who wants to be famous…by sleeping with a student and getting on the news. So she follows the kids to the house and tries to get it on with the hottest boy in the bunch. When that doesn’t work, she decides she’ll get notoriety by sitting out in the orchard and waiting to hook up with the infamous killer. You can tell Jennifer was like, “I don’t give a fuck how stupid it is. Just pay me and I’ll do my ditzy shtick in your movie.”
But in the end, it’s Judd Nelson, as the father of one of the girls, who most definitely just wanted a paycheck.
THE CARETAKER (2012)
This Australian film reminds me of the look, feel, and tone of the great indie vamp film Stake Land. It features a misfit band of strong personalities who hole themselves up in a house as protection against a vampire infestation. This gives it a very Night of the Living Dead feel. But there’s a difference….
These survivors discover a vampire is already in the house—a doctor who was trying to determine what the plague was before he became infected himself. He makes an agreement with them; if they protect him from other humans who come around in search of vampires to kill during the day, he will protect them from vampires looking for sustenance at night.
It’s a tough agreement to make, because when night falls, these vampires turn damn evil! Savage and fast, they are seriously bloodthirsty and more than willing to rip out each other’s throats as well. It’s hard to feel safe barricaded inside with one of them, especially when he clearly has to strongly fight the need to feed.
You can’t tell from this pic, but the doctor is fricking hot. Actually, I think he’s kind of hot in this pic…
The makeup and gore are great, the vampire action is intense and they are pretty terrifying, but The Caretaker is much more about the conflicts between the characters in the house. There are major personality clashes and plenty of tragic flaws to go around. It becomes survival of the fittest and every human and vamp for themselves.
I’m surprised this film hasn’t gotten more attention because it’s an outstanding modern day vamp movie that goes a little deeper than most. Loved it, even with an ending that heavily echoes 30 Days of Night.