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From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter


From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter

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The first From Dusk Till Dawn was an interesting if ultimately unsuccessful attempt to crossbreed a vampire movie with a crime film. Its first direct-to-video sequel, however, was worthless, a substandard B-movie that mistook spastic hyperactivity for creativity. This third, and hopefully final, entry falls somewhere in between, lacking the sharp dialogue of Quentin Tarantino's original script but improving noticeably on the atrocious first sequel. For The Hangman's Daughter, screenwriter Alvaro Rodriguez (the cousin of executive producer Robert Rodriguez) has raised the literary content of the series considerably (not a difficult task, when you think about it) by including among its leads famed American writer and newspaper man Ambrose Bierce (played with droll humor by Michael Parks). Although most accounts of Bierce's life make no mention of run-ins with vampires, the film has the Devil's Dictionary author joining a wagon that ends up tangling with a group of nasty bloodsuckers. Among his fellow travelers is noted horror non-icon Rebecca Gayheart, who gives her most terrifying performance since Urban Legend as a prudish bible-thumper-turned-vampire. The film also follows the story of a fearsome killer (Danny Trejo) whose gang of outlaws ends up as vampire fodder after stopping at the wrong bar. Essentially a remake of the original re-imagined as a half-western/half-horror film, From Dusk Till Dawn 3 shares many of the faults of its predecessor, including an unimaginative script, unremarkable performances, and a willingness to sacrifice suspense for gore. It also shares a frustrating faith in what could be called the Wrestlemania school of horror, which assumes that it's inherently frightening to watch a group of mortals brawl with a group of blood-crazed vampires in a bare-knuckle, winner-takes-all free-for-all. But if From Dusk Till Dawn 3 is inherently limited, it at least approaches its material with an affection largely missing from the series' whiplash-inducing second installment. Being competent is no great achievement, but for undiscriminating gore fans, it should be enough to make Dawn 3 a passable evening's entertainment.