From Dusk Till Dawn is exactly the kind of film you get when you think Robert Rodriguez. It’s like he took characters from Pulp Fiction, but added vampires to the mix. It makes no logical sense whatsoever, but the experience is an oddly great one.
The film stars Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney as Richie and Seth Gecko, two criminal brothers attempting to hop the U.S. border and escape to Mexico. Once across the border, Seth and Richie stop at a cantina that, unknown to them, is run by vampires. Seth, Richie, and the hostages they take on their road trip must now fight for their lives against a horde of blood thirsty vampires.
It can be difficult for films to switch gears and change genres mid stream, but From Dusk Till Dawn does it as if it’s going out of style. Halfway through we go from a crime drama about two criminals to an horror/action movie with vampires getting into a bar fights. It sounds like the kind of concept you might see late at night on the Sci-Fi Channel, but here it really works well.
For what it is, From Dusk Till Dawn is a very fun popcorn action movie. I went into this film knowing exactly what it was, and I had a blast watching it. It was full of great stylized action sequences with creative kills and weapons that fans of these kinds of movies like. There are plenty of shots of vampires being beat, shot, stabbed, burnt, and exploded.
The low budget look that Rodriguez gives films like this is fascinating. The limited amount of movie sets make it so the filmmakers have to utilize other elements to keep the audience entertained. The set design of the cantina (called the Titty Twister by the way) is nicely set up, and the vampires that inhabit it are pretty unique looking.
The dialogue shared by the characters was hit or miss for me. Sometimes it gets a little bland and typical, other times it can be witty and captivating. I think the dialogue was better in the second half (with all the vampires) because that’s when From Dusk Till Dawn starts to really pick up. It’s harder for a popcorn action movie to have cool lines and interesting dialogue when the protagonists are sitting around talking in an RV. Not that those scenes aren’t any good (because they most certainly are), the film just gets better when Clooney starts killing vampires.
This is the kind of film that has a niche audience. You really have to be into these kinds of over-the-top B movies to enjoy From Dusk Till Dawn. If you go in with the wrong mindset that this is going to be a crime drama then you may come out pretty bummed and confused. However if you already know that the film is being made by Rodriguez, then you know just about anything is free game.
I feel the cult following for this film is completely warranted, because this is the ultimate B movie experience from a director who knows exactly what he’s doing. Fans of Robert Rodriguez or Quentin Tarantino that have yet to see From Dusk Till Dawn should check it out. It’s a bloody B movie experience not worth missing.
The Verdict: B+