Dungeons & Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness

Dungeons & Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness

aka Dungeons & Dragons 3

2012
Written by Brian Rudnick
Directed by Gerry Lively

Dungeons Dragons Book of Vile Darkness
The horrors of Lasik!

Dungeons & Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness. D&D: The Threequel. D&D: Chipwrecked. Known by many names, Dungeons & Dragons 3 still manages to become a SyFy original and pack in some fun. While there is no comparison to big budgeted blockbusters where characters slice down armies of orcs, for a small adventure things are peachy keen. +2 axe keen.

Where do we stand? Well, it is still a hell of a lot better than Dungeons & Dragons. But Dungeons & Dragons 2 is slightly more charming. That isn’t to say Dungeons & Dragons 3 isn’t good. It’s actually pretty entertaining. I would say it is equally as good as the second one, if only because they switch things up and have us follow around a gang of evil adventurers who aren’t afraid to slaughter innocent people and rob and kill each other. It’s the cool things like this that make you want to watch more films that follow around a bunch of amoral people. And it’s also how some of the funner D&D campaigns go, as your characters just loot, murder, and plunder the countryside while becoming the most powerful and the most wanted people out there.

Dungeons Dragons Book of Vile Darkness
This dragon is ET!

We see the return of the director and writer of Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God for this new installment, Gerry Lively and Brian Rudnick. Their familiarity with the subject matter and how to make a film that isn’t terrible helped save this franchise from becoming the gigantic joke the original installment made it. The Book of Vile Darkness is an actual book for D&D as well as being an item in the game. The book was controversial upon release, as it was the first D&D book for mature audiences and some claimed it validated the old complaints about Dungeons & Dragons being evil. Others were a bit more rational with their reception.

In the film, each character gets effects and has their own motivations for why they are doing what they are doing. Some have tragic back stories, some are just in search of interesting lives, and some are just giant dicks. Akordia has neat effects where she can teleport her hands to far away to do things, which are put to great use like when she needs to slap Grayson for being an idiot again. It’s fun seeing how such powers would actually be used as opposed to just them being used in random battles. There is some great flavor, and some neat concepts for some of the monsters, particularly the very creepy undead child, and the disturbing evil Lord who has his mouth sewn shut, but still speaks through his chained twin female slaves.

Dungeons Dragons Book of Vile Darkness
Mrs. Gollum!

Grayson’s quest to save his father and thus save the world forces him into positions that betray the oaths he swore, but they are the only way to do the job of saving the world. Grayson’s choices (and eventual reveal as being way more powerful morally than his father because he compromises on his principles) is an interesting story branch, and makes you wonder how it plays out in a grander scheme. Do Grayson’s choices to kill people and ally with bad men equate with some of the awful things the US does on its War on Terror? Is this like a Jack Bauer situation, in that Grayson truly doesn’t have another alternative? Grayson does do bad things, but they are done to bad people who are planning to do even worse things. In a matter of principles, his hands aren’t as dirty as they might be, but to the values that the Knights he belong to, he doesn’t measure up to the oaths. But that doesn’t matter, as his commitment and character is what activates his magic amulet, something more pure members of the Knights were never able to do. Following the Dungeons & Dragons alignment system, Grayson moves from Lawful Good to Chaotic Good, but he never really steps outside of the good sphere. So it isn’t an abandonment of the Good principle, even if he isn’t the pure Lawful Good he wanted to be.

Grayson Azrael (Jack Derges) – Heroic newly initiated Knight who is the lone survivor of an ambush and must now join with some unseemly scum in order to rescue his father. Finds out the real world is far more complicated than the rules he agreed to as a Knight.
Akordia (Eleanor Gecks) – Witch who is out to have a good time terrorizing the masses for fun and profit. Unexpectedly falls for Grayson despite him being a goody-goody.
Bezz (Barry Aird) – The coolest character proves that evil people rule. Bezz is a vermin lord, literally made of bugs. He has extendable eyes and other weird powers. Gives Grayson a neat warning about a raccoon grabbing an apple from a box that Grayson doesn’t pick up on. Is not opposed to causing massive chaos to alleviate his boredom.
Vimak (Habib Nasib Nader) – Barbarian member of the evil party who is looking for gold to get revenge against the village that slighted him as a wounded child. Doesn’t care that his revenge will impact many people.
Seith (Lex Daniel) – Evil rogue and thief who is totally into the concept of the strong dominating the weak, to the point where he yaks about it constantly. He never shuts up about it. Ends up becoming very weak in the end.
Dungeons Dragons Book of Vile Darkness
The worst modern dance ever.

Dungeons Dragons Book of Vile Darkness
Yeah my horns are lopsided. Deal with it!

As we’re told via flash animated storytelling, 2000 years ago, Nagrul the Foul, a necromancer, sold his soul to demons to live forever. This somehow meant that his body was turned into a book – skin-pages, bone-covers, blood-ink. This book (The Book of Vile Darkness!) makes people crazy and evil. Yes, it is The Da Vinci Code!

After 1200 years of this, some dudes called the Knights of the New Sun emerged to fight back, having magic amulets powered by the sun god. They save the day as the book’s supporters dismantle it to stash it away. The ink is destroyed, but the cover and pages are never found.

So now it is modern day, where Grayson is getting initiated into the Knights of the New Sun, but he doesn’t get the blessing from the obelisk, which hasn’t worked for 800 years. The Knights are now considered a joke by the people, and Grayson is mad he wasn’t special enough to wake up the obelisk. None of that matters as they get attacked by some dudes, Grayson waking up the next morning to find everyone dead and his dad missing. Now he has a quest!

Thanks to a hooker with a heart of gold (and a dead brother who was in the Knights) he gets a clue and is taken to a store run by a dude named Tarnbull – Adventurer’s Vault – where he buys all sorts of weapons and armor he will need to succeed in his mission, using the gold his dead Knight buddies were collecting so he could buy equipment.) He also is given a bottle of poison in case he is tortured.

Dungeons Dragons Book of Vile Darkness
They took the wrong bus from Comic Con!
Dungeons Dragons Book of Vile Darkness
Trapped chests made it into a movie? Huzzah!

Grayson goes to the pub where there are a group of rogues who were hired by a mysterious Lord to find some artifacts. There is a witch named Akordia who is covered with more tattoos and piercings than a goth convention. Seith is a warrior with tribal tattoos all over his face and he’s totally on about the strong dominating the weak. Vimak is a barbarian who is cool with taking weapons off of dead people. Bezz is a Vermin Lord, which is a sorcerer of dark arts that has bugs and maggots inside him. And he wears a mask because his face is deformed. There is also another fighter, an elf guy with big ears, but Grayson kills him (in self defense, though the group demands that Grayson kill someone to be able to join their crew!)

And we’re off on an adventure! To find a horn. That is in a dragon cave. But the dragon has woken up and is grabbing random villagers for dinner. The plan to sneak in during the dragon’s afternoon nap is ruined when it is discovered this dragon has problems getting proper sleep and is wide awake when they stroll in. So now everyone has to fight the dragon, at which some characters are better than other. In particularly, Akordia is the one with the best way to defeat it, but she’s quickly pinned and almost killed by the dragon, were it not for Grayson’s quick work. He ends up killing it and saving her.

A cool sequence is the dragon has only a tiny chest as loot (where Akordia then mocks the dragon for being pathetic!) and they even check the chest for traps! Huzzah! Inside is the horn they are looking for. Grayson also brings out some dragon captives, which Seith wants to slaughter, but Grayson convinces the group to bring them to town so they can be hailed as heroes. The group agrees because everyone is secretly planning to loot that town clean.

In town, they are welcomed as heroes and Seith proceeds to rob the entire treasure vault, Bezz spreads nastiness, Vimak finds some ladies eager to take his money, and Akordia and Grayson get it on after she threatens to kick him out of the group if they don’t. The things he does for his quest… SyFy left the sex scene in but blurred out part of the screen, for those of you into looking at blurry things on tv.

The next morning the party wants to leave, but the gate is locked and the town mayor is calling them robbers. To avoid a fight, Grayson gets Akordia to agree to return half the treasure, the other half kept as a reward for killing the dragon. But Bezz kills the mayor and soon everyone is slaughtering the entire town! Grayson does manage to sneak off and guide some children to safety, but everyone else in the town is dead dead dead.

Dungeons Dragons Book of Vile Darkness
Anyone got some lotion?
Dungeons Dragons Book of Vile Darkness
Us evil sorceresses always keep a nice sexy dress in our loot bags!

The town loot is way more than the payment they would get for using the horn to locate the next artifact, so the group is going to split up and let Seith take the horn to the next place, as he’s totally into the whole evil thing. Grayson realizes this means he won’t be able to find out where his father is held, so at night, he kills Vimak and throws the body and the treasure into the lake, framing him for stealing it all.

Thus they have to stay together longer and get the treasure the horn would lead them to. Though Seith tries to kill Grayson until Bezz turns his blade into a scorpion, he’s stung and dies, begging Grayson to ask Akordia to heal him (Grayson refuses.)

Next, Dungeons & Dragons 3 comes across what is probably the most disturbing thing in the franchise (that’s not Jeremy Irons’ face!) as they meet an undead child. That talks, and is hungry, hungry for bad vibes from awful people. Yes, this undead child feeds on negative energy, and good energy is poison. She feeds from Bezz first, then from Grayson, and finally Akordia, who she rejects because she’s full of love (for Grayson!) This summons a guardian monster who stabs Bezz and fights Akordia and Grayson. They eventually kill it, finding the cover of the Book of Vile Darkness on its body.

Dungeons Dragons Book of Vile Darkness
Proactiv is perfectly safe, why do you ask?
Dungeons Dragons Book of Vile Darkness
The lady who restored that Jesus fresco strikes again!

They take the cover to Lord Shathrax, the Mind Flayer, who is a guy who has his mouth sewn shut and talks through two twins who are chained to him. This concept alone is awesome. Rewards for everyone, and tonight they will invoke the ritual and evil will be in charge again. They are making replacement ink from the liquid pain of their captive – Grayson’s father! But Grayson breaks out his dad, and even has to blast Akordia to escape. Grayson can now activate their magic amulet which should destroy evil. But they’re trapped when it is revealed the castle is now way up in the air, and Grayson’s dad says he’s not proud of his son for betraying the oath.

Bezz turns out to be alive, and captures Grayson, who is the true target for liquid pain getting, as he has way more. The ritual begins, Grayson is being tortured in front of everyone. But Akordia uses her magic hands to give him his amulet, and he blasts everyone evil and they all die. Only Grayson, his dad, and Akordia remain. Grayson says he’s still going to be a knight, so he and Akordia bid farewell until next they meet.

The ending is rather abrupt, and the magic talisman kills everyone instead of a proper slaughter. So it’s sort of a weird version of the ending of Raiders of the Lost Ark, except with more love. As Dungeons & Dragons 4 is already filmed, I wonder if it will be connected to The Book of Vile Darkness, or will be a stand alone adventure.

Dungeons Dragons Book of Vile Darkness
One of the odd themes of this film is the main character gets progressively bigger swords
Dungeons Dragons Book of Vile Darkness
When girls who work at the coffee shop get movie roles!

Rated 8/10 (monsters, monster, turned into a book, that’s not what it looks like, hooker with a heart of gold, shopkeeper who now has lots of gold, mayor chokesplosion, Pip?!?!)


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Dungeons Dragons Book of Vile Darkness
time to be initiated into the Order of the Flavor Flav!
Dungeons Dragons Book of Vile Darkness
Old School Jayne Hat
Dungeons Dragons Book of Vile Darkness
Dragon puke!
Dungeons Dragons Book of Vile Darkness
We’re gonna break for camp while I tattoo the other side of my face
Dungeons Dragons Book of Vile Darkness
This guy had the worst dentist.
Dungeons Dragons Book of Vile Darkness
Let’s float a bit higher and invade that floating Avatar place!
Dungeons Dragons Book of Vile Darkness
A neat connection
Dungeons Dragons Book of Vile Darkness
A neat connection

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Written by Tars Tarkas

Tars Tarkas

Runs this joint!