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Murphy in Vampire scares nobody with humor

Angela Bassett swoons over Eddie Murphy in Vampire in Brooklyn.

Vampire in Brooklyn

Directed by Wes Craven.

Written by Charles Murphy, Michael Lucker, and Chris Parker.

Starring Eddie Murphy and Angela Bassett.

Sony Cinema 57.

By Daniel Ramirez
Staff Reporter

With the Halloween season knocking on the door, isn't it fitting that Hollywood releases another vampire movie. Over the past four years there has been a tremendous boom in the movie industry to make movies about the undead. Apparently, anybody who is anybody is making a vampire movie. Well, just when you thought Hollywood had finished making vampire movies, another one has come along. What do you get when you cross Coming to America and An American Werewolf in London? You get Eddie Murphy's latest attempt to jolt his recent box-office slump. The movie is Vampire in Brooklyn.

Maximillian (Eddie Murphy) is a member of an exclusive race that legend has called Nosferatu, the undead, the vampire. He knows no mercy and has no regret. He can transform himself in a thousand different ways. Max has ventured to New York City in search of Rita Veder (Angela Basset), an NYPD detective who is unaware of their unique blood bond. Along the way, Max gets the aid of Julius Jones (Kadeem Hardison) and makes him into his hapless ghoul. As Max and Julius attempt to transform Rita into Max's vampiress, her devoted NYPD partner Justice (Allen Payne) finds he has much at stake in protecting her from an age-old evil.

Vampire in Brooklyn claims to be a comic tale of horror and seduction; however, after seeing it I was left somewhat disappointed. When I first heard about this movie, I was under the impression that it was going to be a good horror film with some comedy. Its first trailers pictured it in this way. The second trailer still predicted a horror movie, even with some extra humor.

Well, after watching Vampire in Brooklyn, I have to say that what could have been a good horror movie turned out to be almost a remake of another one of Murphy's films, though with different characters. The story line of this film is very similar to Coming to America. After watching this movie, you might even think that it was in fact the same movie. However, instead of portraying a prince from a small island in South Africa, Murphy portrays a vampire from a small Caribbean island in the Bermuda Triangle. Strike one.

With a director like Wes Craven, one would hope for some horror in this "horror" movie. While the beginning of the movie does offer more graphic violence than laughs, the rest of the movie relies on humor rather than horror. Strike two.

Finally, there's Murphy's character Max. After seeing Murphy for so many years portraying comedic roles, it is hard to visualize him as a vampire with killer instincts and no mercy to all of his victims. Don't get me wrong; he isn't always trying to get a laugh in the movie. In fact the beginning offers a side of Murphy that many have never seen: a ruthless vampire who indeed possesses killer instincts. However, as the movie progresses Murphy tends to let his comic side shine through, thus ruining the effect of his character. Strike three.

Okay, so this movie isn't all that bad. In fact, it did offer some very funny moments. Kadeem Hardison's character Julius was one of the best and funniest characters of the movie. His humor was the type that the movie needed. He was constantly offering the audience some good laughs and some memorable scenes. Another such character was John Witherspoon's character Silas. Like Hardison, Witherspoon offered many laughs and gave a much better performance than Murphy. If Murphy was supposed to portray a ruthless vampire, then he should have acted like one. How can you take a vampire seriously when he's trying to be funny? In one particular scene, Murphy even attempts to mimic Arsenio Hall's preacher from Coming to America, unsuccessfully.

If Murphy wants to break out of his box office slump, then he should make something new and original. Vampire in Brooklyn is new, but it is far from original. It offers many funny moments, but those in search of a good scare and a decent horror movie should look elsewhere.