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From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

DVD Cover (Echo Bridge Entertainment)
Movie Connections:
From Dusk Till Dawn
> From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
> From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood... (1999)
Genres / Traits:
Crime, Crime Thriller, Horror, Horror Comedy, Vampire Film, Strippers
Director:
Robert Rodriguez Robert Rodriguez
Starring:
George Clooney George Clooney
Quentin Tarantino Quentin Tarantino
Harvey Keitel Harvey Keitel
Juliette Lewis Juliette Lewis
Ernest Liu Ernest Liu

7.4 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: April 26, 2007
The first half of "From Dusk Till Dawn" seems far more like a Quentin Tarantino film than a Robert Rodriguez film. It relies more on dialogue and exposition than blood or explosions or gratuitous sexuality. The first half of "From Dusk Till Dawn" is a totally different movie than the second half. It feels different, it looks different, and it serves a different purpose. What purpose is that? To set you up for the second half. Much like the recent "Grindhouse", this film is a two part journey -- though "From Dusk Till Dawn" is reversed, with the more action packed section at the end and the slower, more introspective piece at the beginning. Released in 1996, "From Dusk Till Dawn" still maintains its 'bad ass' appeal and definitely shows us the origins of what "Grindhouse" would become.

Whilst driving cross country in their motor home, the Fuller Family (Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, Ernest Liu) are taken hostage by the vicious Gecko Brothers (George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino), wanted for robbing a liquor store and killing some people in the process. Brother Seth is a career criminal, but very intelligent and very aware of what is going on. Brother Richard is seedier and more villainous, a rapist and a murderer with a temper and no reservations about killing anyone. Jacob Fuller, the patriarch of the kidnapped family, is a former priest who have up his religion after the death of his wife. Now, all he cares about are his two children. The Gecko Brothers and the family hold up at a club called The Titty Twister, but eventually discover that this bar is not exactly the kind of place you want to spend the night. The entire establishment is run by vampires, luring in new blood and then massacring them. It's up to the Gecko Brothers and their hostages to defend themselves against the hordes of blood thirsty blood suckers before they too become just more mindless demons.

Back to the separation of acts. The first act is all set-up. We learn about the Fuller Family -- why Jacob has given up the priesthood and how that has affected his kids. We learn about the death of his wife and how that has affected the entire family. We grow to care about them, as characters. We also get plenty of build up for the Gecko Brothers. We don't necessarily like them, but we can appreciate the brotherly bond they share and we can appreciate their humor and their determination. It's difficult to sympathize with such villainous monsters, but they manage to evoke it by the end of the film, Clooney's character especially. Halfway through the film, the second act kicks in, with everyone doing battle with the vampires. The film turns into a classic Robert Rodriguez battle, with amazingly powerful guns, sharper than sharp knives and more blood than you can imagine. We even get a nice table dance from Salma Hayek, one of the lead female vampires.

And, in typical Rodriguez fashion, this picture is filled with his regulars, each making either a cameo or holding a supporting role. Danny Trejo and Tom Savini are two of the primary vampires, Fred Williamson is one of the men trying to keep himself from becoming a vampire and Cheech Marin is...well...Cheech. Everyone turns in a fine performance, with the exception of Tarantino, who need not act on camera unless it's in a very small and very meaningless role. Here, he has one of the leads and he lacks the necessary chops to pull it off. Clooney is all over the place and crazy fun with his role -- it definitely showed his more light-hearted side. Harvey Keitel really shines as the former priest, and Juliette Lewis does exactly what she was doing well at the time. On the whole, "From Dusk Till Dawn" was one hell of a fun horror film and one hell of a fun vampire flick. The sequels left quite a bit to be desired, but the original was one hell of a good ride. 8/10.
Recommended Movies
From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money Jackie Brown Grindhouse The Faculty Sin City
Pulp Fiction Phantoms Planet Terror Reservoir Dogs True Romance
Hellraiser: Bloodline Cursed Piranha Death Proof Feast
Tristan #1: Tristan - added 04/26/2007, 09:44 PM
The first time I watched this, I didn't know it was a vampire movie. So when Salma Hayek came out, and totally changed the movie, I was completely blown away. While I do like a good vampire movie, I really liked the movie up until that part a whole lot more. But, needless to say, this was a bad ass movie, and it was great to see Tom Savini get a nice part. My love for that man is infinite. 8/10
grain of sand #2: grain of sand - added 05/18/2008, 03:36 AM
I'll have to say this holds a place in my heart as my favorite vampire movie.. I've seen em all and to be honest I'm just not a vampire fan, there's something about them that really puts me off (maybe the extreme love for zombies? if you're gonna drink from the neck, why not eat the rest?).. From Dusk Til Dawn did everything right for me when I saw it years and years ago on VHS and still did tonight when I saw it on DVD.. The effects aren't great and not all the acting is top notch, but the feeling of this really draws me in and when it comes down to it. I love this beginning to end. 9.5/10
Chad #3: Chad - added 07/20/2008, 02:42 PM
Insert what the guy above me said, rating and all. This is, in my humble opinion, one of the best modern vampire movies.
Crispy #4: Crispy - added 08/05/2009, 01:20 AM
"Everyone turns in a fine performance, with the exception of Tarantino, who need not act on camera unless it's in a very small and very meaningless role. " Repeated for emphasis. Anyway, I dug the hell out of this one, although I will say I would have preferred it if the transformations were a bit subtler.
Lucid Dreams #5: Lucid Dreams - added 09/11/2010, 02:00 PM
Probably one of the best vampire flicks to ever come out. 9/10
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