Lo-fi vampire tale "Moonshine" sets freakish doings amid dreary Americana, like such prior genre faves as "Martin" and "Near Dark." Despite intriguingly stark aesthetic and moderate suspense, however, Roger Ingraham's feature doesn't deliver quite enough character depth, plot twists or satisfying mayhem to seem more than an OK idea just half-developed. On the upside, as a 21-year-old helmer's $10,000 maiden effort, it's plenty promising. Horror fans will lend this minor viability as a DVD item.
Driving home one night, Danny (Sarah Ingraham) crashes while swerving to avoid a crouching figure, whichdrinks her blood before help arrives. Subsequent fainting spells are witnessed by Peter (Brian Geer), new hire at the convenience store owned by shrewish Pat (Ginny Fitzpatrick). The two employees get along well, though Danny's nervous about her imminent wedding, while he's burdened by a terminally ill mother and disabled, alcoholic dad. Meanwhile, bloody serial killings baffle local police. After a long, slow buildup, the pic erupts in carnage shot and cut in obscuring fashion. Scant explanation and listless lead characters are counterbalanced by offbeat atmosphere and interesting musical choices.
Camera (color, HD), Tamas Toro; production designer, Beth Deters; music, Christopher Caouette. Reviewed at Sundance Film Fest (Midnight), Jan. 27, 2006. Running time: 71 MIN.