From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman’s Daughter, which is technically a prequel to the first From Dusk Till Dawn, is also more in line with the type of movie that the first installment is. That is to say, apart from the beginning, it’s basically the same movie. Okay, so the crime-drama from the first flick has been replaced with a Western, but save for that and the circumstances which lead to all of the characters finding themselves in a bar, fighting for their lives, this is the same movie.
Well, it’s the same movie, but it doesn’t have the talent behind the cameras or the impressive cast that the first film had, making it feel much less impressive. The most well-known cast member is, perhaps, Michael Parks, who appeared in the first film’s opening scene, but here plays a role similar to Harvey Keitel’s. He’s not a man of God, essentially, which is going to be a bit of a problem once the vampires, who can be harmed by everything holy, start showing up. Of course, since this is a From Dusk Till Dawn movie, they won’t appear until the halfway point.
No, the first half of the picture is typical Western affair. We’ve got horses, shootouts, standoffs, and so on, which, if you still haven’t gotten the message, leads you to believe that this is the genre in which we’re going to stay. However, since you’ve more than likely seen at least one of the previous chapters in this saga, you know that genre subversion is what it’s about. It builds up our expectations, and then it completely smashes them by throwing vampires into the mix, changing tone and genre in the process.
The problem is that the Western is often more enjoyable near its conclusion, and takes quite a while to get going. Because the decision was made to not cram the entirety of a Western into the first half — opting to, instead, simply cut it off when the vampires are unleashed — there’s no real payoff to the beginning. We go through all of this Western stuff, which should be building up to something, but it never gets there, which is frustrating.
It’s such a dull movie. Yes, even with a bunch of deaths and vampires and killing and all that wholesome goodness, it’s just not a whole lot of fun. That’s the bare minimum that is required from a campy B-movie. There were points even in Texas Blood Money where I went “I can see what they were going for and how, if the execution was better, I would be enjoying myself.” Here, I don’t even see the attempt. It’s lazy filmmaking, stealing directly from the earlier film but done with a lower budget and with less style.
Oh, and it’s technically a prequel, which means that the story has to leave us at a point where the film can say “And that’s how the first movie happened.” Does it really work here? Not really, and the only character they actually establish is Salma Hayek’s, here played by Ara Celi. How the bar came to be, why they decide that the best way to go about things is to lure people in and then go for the jugulars, and any other part of the mythos that you want to learn about isn’t going to be explained here. It’s a prequel because that’s the easiest thing to do.
In the first film, there were actual characters to grab a hold of and watch as they progress. Clooney and Tarantino made for effective, atypical villains, while the victimized family is just that. Everyone has a reason for you to feel sympathetic, and when the killing starts, you actually care about them — as much as you can for B-movie heroes, at least. Here, there’s nobody to root for, nobody to follow, and nobody of interest to keep you paying attention.
The only positive I can think of is that this is somewhat of a reunion for a couple of the actors from the first movie, so at least that set must have been quite enjoyable to work on, or else they wouldn’t have returned. Michael Parks played the Texas Ranger in the first film, and is referenced in the second, and he plays a much more prominent role here, showing us that he must have enjoyed working on the first installment. Danny Trejo is also back, and ends up being the only actor to appear in all three movies of the series, each time playing the bartender. At least the movies are somewhat consistent.
The action isn’t fun. There is no horror. It’s derivative of the first film and it’s simply dull. There is no fun to be had here. That is the only thing I needed. These types of movies don’t need much, and don’t even need to be consistently enjoyable. A few really fun, really funny, moments are enough. The Hangman’s Daughter has none. I felt downtrodden after it ended, not elevated like I should have.
From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman’s Daughter, is the same movie as the first one, with a slight genre tweak, an even lower budget, and a much less talented cast and crew. That could all work in a so-bad-it’s-good kind of way, but with the lack of execution at every turn, it becomes dull and uninteresting. There are no moments to make you laugh or get your heartbeat up, no characters to latch onto, and absolutely no reason to watch it. You’re better off just watching the first movie again.