Fans of this film at work got me to watch this 1980s classic. So here are some thoughts:
Here is an adventure/horror film which transcends its simple storyline of “kill the vampires to rescue Michael and his family from an evil fate” to deliver something more. This is the birth of “cool” teen vampire, complete with the spirit of rebellious youth, recalling the anti-society and cult-like teen gangs of American suburbia, with their strange initiation rituals.
The film also builds on the idea that everything can take on a sinister implication in a strange new town, and some of the biggest scenes are set within the bounds of the new family home, where trust between child and parent is hard to find. The children are pushed into a strange new world, and as you watch you become gripped by both the seductive quality of the vampires and some thrilling set-pieces, where you are not quite sure what is going to happen to Michael or his brother Sam next. It doesn't hurt that the comic relief of junior vampire “experts” the Frog brothers is pretty good, and they round off an impressive cast of characters, almost creating the illusion this is a family film, which is nearly is. But the themes of transgressing natural boundaries, the mystery surrounding the girl “Star” who rides with the vampires, and the exciting final scenes, are aimed more at the teen or young adult audience, and the horror of the monsters the children face is a focus of the film. You might even feel scared for the characters at a couple of points.
The soundtrack features a strong and memorable rock ballad theme “Cry Little Sister” which captures well the dark struggle that Michael, Sam and Star go through. The only thing I had against the film was some of the cinematography is dated and quite irritating – there's one scene where we zoom in on the faces of the two brothers so many times as they gaze at each other in horror.... it's just too cheesy. But minor slips like this won't stop me recommending this fun, well-produced teen vampire film, which excels in encouraging you to invest in its characters and their precarious situation as they hold out against their supernatural enemy.