There are bad movies, the kind of third-rate film-making we see all the time, and then there are transcendentally bad movies that can only result from deep, fanatical attachment to the material. Director, writer and producer Chris Sanders here achieves something on a par with Ed Wood’s Plan 9 from Outer Space or Tommy Wiseau’s The Room. His Nest of Vampires is a little-England horror-thriller with a plot as over-larded as an Elvis sandwich, uniformly appalling acting, and the same almost beatific earnestness as those two legendary films.
MI5 agent Kit Valentine (Tom Fairfoot) leaves his London stamping ground to shake down some unnamed English town for a human trafficking ring that – after his wife is murdered – has abducted his daughter. He needs to get a move on, because the network sells off the girls to moneyed clients to butcher in satanic rituals. Not racy enough? Some of the criminals are also vampires who like a “nibble” on the customers. And Valentine is further up against it when his bosses reveal they are in cahoots. Tied to a chair, though, he has news for them: “You’re not the only secret society that operates within MI5.” Then his own canines turn extra-pointy.
For a film so full of brain-freezing exposition, it takes inhuman effort to piece that plot description together. It’s actually a nest of non sequiturs, randomness the only governing principle in a sinkhole of characters, factions, ideas and twists. A prologue refers to lapis lazuli as a means by which vampires can withstand daylight, but this is barely mentioned again. One apparently Italian miscreant – implied to be a vampire, before he isn’t – sounds like the Dolmio Man when he resorts to English: “Good-a point-a!” If criminal networks really were this confusing, the police would have a collective nervous breakdown.
Hidden in the aimless scenes and slack direction is the odd nugget of dialogue with a noirish gleam. But mostly it’s pure panto: “I’m about to do a spot of decorating. I was thinking dark red would suit this room.” It may be remiss to dump on a film that cost £30,000, but it seems to be only this type of film-making that can hit a pitch of such sublime pap. Maybe one day Nest of Vampires will get its own Disaster Artist-style eulogy.