Directed by Robert Rodriguez [Other horror films: The Faculty (1998), Grindhouse (2007, segment ‘Planet Terror’), Planet Terror (2007), Red 11 (2019)]
I’ve seen this a handful of times before, and it’s never been a favorite. I enjoy the first half, with a crime/action feel to it, enough, but I can’t say I much care at all once they hit the Titty Twister.
The cast is pretty superb throughout. George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Harvey Keitel (Two Evil Eyes), Juliette Lewis (Kalifornia), a younger Danny Trejo than I’m used to, Tom Savini, Fred Williamson, Ceech Marin, and, for a few seconds, John Saxon. It’s a Robert Rodriguez/Tarantino movie, so the cast is about as good as you’d expect.
As great as the cast can be (and they certainly are in some aspects, looking at Clooney and Keitel’s characters), though, I don’t love the shift into vampire terrority, at least not the way it was done here. It became an all-out rumble with the undead, and that’s not really what I look for when it comes to vampire flicks.
On a slight positive note, the final shot in the film was pretty damn cool. It’d make a quality poster.
As far as special effects go, they were decent. Personally, I didn’t much care for the design of the vampires, but they stood out. There were a lot of solid sequences during the multiple fights, from plenty of gunplay to a decapitation, and the fact that a few of the characters left are ones you felt for helped, but still, the whole action-orientation of those scenes doesn’t endear me.
From Dusk Till Dawn feels special only in that you can tell Tarantino was involved in the script. At times near the beginning, it doesn’t feel dissimilar to Pulp Fiction or Reservoir Dogs, which certainly makes aspects of the first half memorable, but once vampires start coming into the picture, I admit, it loses me.
There are better vampire films from the 1990’s (The Night Flier and Carpenter’s Vampires, for two), and there are certainly better action films, so watching a subpar mix of both doesn’t blow me away. From Dusk Till Dawn is decently popular, and there’s certainly a reason for that, but I’ve never loved this one, nor particularly liked it, and this most recent viewing hasn’t changed that.