Subspecies: The Awakening (1998)

subspecies the awakening poster 1998 movie bloodstorm
4.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 4/10
Visuals: 5/10

More stylized, different direction for story

Same dull cliche plotlines

Movie Info

Movie Name:   Subspecies:  The Awakening

Studio:   Castel Film Romania

Genre(s):   Horror/B-Movie

Release Date(s):   December 8, 1998

MPAA Rating:   R

subspecies the awakening radu ana anders hove iona abur

I want me a new lady!

Michelle (Denice Duff) has escaped Radu (Anders Hove), but a tragic accident kills her sister and her friends.  Found by a nurse named Ana (Ioana Abur) Michelle is taken to Doctor Niculescu (Mihai Dinvale) who promises Michelle that he might be able to cure her vampirism with the help of the bloodstone.  Unfortunately, Radu has been reborn and the bloodstone is now in his possession.  Radu wants Michelle back, but a coup within the vampires could mean Radu’s existence also might be endangered!

Written and directed by Ted Nicolaou, Subspecies:  The Awakening also was marketed under the title of Subspecies IV:  Bloodstorm.  Following Bloodlust:  Subspecies III in 1994, the straight-to-video vampire B-Movie was the final film in the series.  The film also followed the tie-in film Vampire Journals from 1997 which featured the Ash (Jonathon Morris) and Serena (Floriela Grappini) characters.

subspecies the awakening dr niculescu hair anton chigurh no country for old men mihai dinvale

I rocked the Anton Chigurh hair before Javier Bardem!

I will give Subspecies this…it had a plot.  The four films of the series can be watched back-to-back and generally provide one solid story…it just isn’t a great story.  It is the lazy type of vampire movie where the characters head out to kill the vampire fifteen minutes before sunset.  Subspecies:  The Awakening wraps up this story but still feels unfulfilling.

The movie took a couple of years to make and most of the previous cast moved on…which means being unceremoniously killed in a random car accident at the beginning of the film.  This dovetails into a story of a mad scientist (also cursed with vampirism and bad hair) and a continued story of Michelle’s quest to conquer her vampire urges and Radu.  Radu on the other hand feels downplayed in this story with other vampires trying to betray him for the bloodstone (vampires you don’t care about if you didn’t see Vampire Journals).

subspecies the awakening radu killed anders hove

I would like to believe he won’t be back…someday

The cast is rather bland.  Anders Hove’s Radu wore out his welcome by the second film and Denice Duff is rather one dimensional as the character with very little direction.  She kills a person then she doesn’t want to, she hates Radu but then is ok with him…the addict role isn’t very defined though the key is making the character be an addict to their curse.  The other characters are fodder that start to develop and go nowhere (especially Mihai Dinvale’s Dr. Niculescu).  The movie also brought back bumbling detective Lt. Marin played by Ion Haiduc for no real reason.

The visuals of the film probably are a lower budget, but are shot more stylized in this outing.  You can tell while watching Subspecies:  The Awakening that the director had a plan, but it didn’t really develop.  You get a lot of vampire shadows…a lot of vampire shadows.

Subspecies had its moments.  Like many Full Moon Entertainment series, it wasn’t particularly scary (when it could have been), but it also isn’t very gory in comparison to the films released in the 2000s (like Saw) so it misses the “video nasty” trend of the ’70s as well.  It feels like Full Moon often couldn’t quite find its niche, but it is kind of fun to see them try.

Related Links:

Subspecies (1991)

Bloodstone:  Subspecies II (1993)

Bloodlust:  Subspecies III (1994)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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