Welcome to Cult Corner where we dive through the bargain bins to determine if a movie is trash or treasure. Today’s pick… Jake West’s Razor Blade Smile.
Part seductress. Part assassin. All vampire. That tagline really tells you everything you need to know about this movie right off the bat. Everything from the plot down to the overall style and attitude of the movie as a whole.
Razor Blade Smile focuses on a vampire assassin by the name of Lilith Silver. Of course her name is Lilith. She takes on a series of jobs to pick off members of the Illuminati, but for the majority of the runtime she just kind of dicks around. After a murder that takes place near the opening, the rest of the characters begin to move and events are set in motion but Lilith herself just hangs out until the end when she finally takes a more proactive role.
In general, Lilith is problematic as a protagonist. She’s clearly presented as the “good guy” in this scenario, but there’s really nothing particularly likable about her. She murders random people in addition to those she’s assigned and doesn’t feel the slightest remorse about it. Hell, there’s even some lame excuse about how she makes it a “pleasurable death.” That’s fine but it doesn’t really make the murder any more acceptable or her any easier to relate to.
This could have been easily sidestepped a bit if they had leaned on the idea that vampires need to feed to survive, but that angle wasn’t really explored.
The vampire mythology is pretty vague. They go out of their way to change some of the rules without ever really establishing what the new ones are. The one thing we do know for a fact is that they’re basically bulletproof. Now follow this up by throwing Lilith up against guys with guns and you have an unlikable character in situations where she can’t be harmed. The screenplay is a total mess and something as simple as this really detracts from the movie because there’s almost no reason to care.
The rest of the cast is underdeveloped and given terrible dialogue to recite. Everything that’s said is either an exposition dump or a one-liner. Still, the actors and actresses try to work with what little they’re given and for the most part appear to be having a certain degree of fun with it.
As far as the technical aspects, this movie overreaches its’ budget by a lot. If it hadn’t come out a year beforehand I might say it’s a low budget Matrix knockoff but it did somehow manage to sneak out first. Lilith is leather clad and loud obnoxious EDM plays during many of the over stylized action scenes and gun fights but it feels cheap. She’s an assassin who makes boatloads of cash per hit but she lives in a crappy apartment. The Illuminati are an ancient organization that runs governments, but they meet in what looks like somebody’s dining room. Things just don’t jive, despite how “cool” the film is supposed to be.
Razor Blade Smile plays out like a 14 year old boy’s attempt at Underworld fan fiction. There’s a lot of sex, plenty of action, ample one liners, and load of attitude. Unfortunately it can’t pull any of this off in a convincing way and just feels like it’s trying too damned hard. The film is poorly directed, everything looks like it went through a bad filter, and it does very little to sustain audience interest. Skip.
Here at Cult Corner we cover the weird and obscure. Given the low budget that these movies often have we feel the need to recognize that entertainment value and quality aren’t always synonymous. That’s why we have opted for the “trash or treasure” approach in lieu of a typical rating system. After all, Troll 2 is incredibly entertaining but it’s no 8 out of 10.