American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
"The Lost Boys" in this movie are vampires, teenage vampires, and of course there is a lost girl, too, but why mention her? They hang from the ceiling of their lair, in the ruins of an old hotel, and at night they go out to cruise the boardwalk of Santa Cruz, Mass Murder Capital of the World. When a new kid moves to town, the lost boys look threatening but the lost girl looks just great.
From this beginning, Joel Schumacher has devised an ambitious entertainment that starts out well but ends up selling its soul. There is a moment, early in this film, when it seems to have a handle on its characters and the after-dark teenage world they inhabit. But the ending of the film is just another one of those by-the-numbers action climaxes in which the movie is over when all the bad guys are dead. Has there been an action thriller all year in which the last 20 minutes weren't phoned in from the depository of bankrupt cliches?
The movie stars Jason Patric as Michael, a bright kid who moves to town with his widowed mother (Dianne Wiest) and little brother (Corey Haim). Right away he meets a nice local man (Edward Herrmann), who comes calling on his mother. Before long, he sees the great-looking girl (Jami Gertz). And not long after that, he sees the pack of lost boys, led by Kiefer Sutherland. The girl invites him to join them.
The Frog Brothers try to warn him. They're a couple of bright kids who run a comic book store on the carnival boardwalk. They give him a couple of comic books about vampires and offer their services if any vampires need to be killed, but Michael doesn't believe in vampires and doesn't make the connection until it's too late.