Is it any good?
Spoilers: Yeah it’s an okay way to spend a rainy afternoon if you want an excuse to eat popcorn.
Does it add anything new?
No, it doesn’t.
So just what is it? (Digressions ahead)
It’s essentially an origin story for the worlds first Super Anti-hero. It gets a Stylistic mish mash of the 300 with a dash of Game of Thrones. The game of thrones connection is reflected in its casting it has both Charles Dance (Worst Lanister dad ever) and Art Parkinson (Youngest Stark ever).
The costumes are also top notch.The CG a little overdone and not entirely convincing. The very talented Dominic Cooper as the arch villain is criminally under utilised. See the Devils Double and be in awe of this guy, seriously.
Luke Evans holds his own as the lead but I just couldn’t quite connect with his performance. Not like I could with say, Gary Oldman in Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula(s).
7. Bram Stoker’s Dracula
I’m not entirely convinced Gary Oldman knew he wasn’t Dracula, or even that they were shooting a film. Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryders casting non withstanding that is one hell of a film, effects were done either practically or in camera. They literally made the shit you see with smoke and mirrors. The scene where a train passes over a journal on the landscape, they built a giant journal and a tiny train with evil eyebrows being projected into the backdrop, impressed yet?
The first thing Francis Ford Coppola says in that behind the scenes documentary is; “We know what our biggest problem is, our biggest problem is why did they go to all this trouble to make the same story again?” Coppola knew, if you aren’t bringing something new and interesting to it then don’t bother.
If you think about Bram Stokers Dracula, movie and novel, its called Dracula The title should be your first clue. Dracula is a sympathetic character, are you meant to like Jonathan Harker? He spent most of the book getting freaky with hot vampire babes, then felt guilty about it enough to get motivated to save his girlfriend. What a guy.
Dracula on the other hand packs his shit up, takes great personal risk to go connect with his soulmate that he ends up sacrificing himself for love.
The motivations say much about the characters and Dracula is a sympathetic character, he’s written that way.
Rating: If some foreign dude rocks up to your girlfriend and says “I have crossed oceans of time to find you.” sorry to break it to you bro, but you are sleeping on the couch tonight.
I’m going to use this as a segueway to some movies that do this whole thing better, that you might not have heard of, while avoiding some of the more obvious examples (number 7 excepted).
Most awesome thing about this movie for me, was thinking it was a gritty drama movie when I was randomly looking for something to watch on Netflix and getting an awesome low key vampire movie.
Oh, sorry, spoilers, well I hadn’t watched the trailer which drops that plot point within the first 20 seconds, sometimes its nice having movies surprise you.
I thought this one had a nice pace, tension and reveal to it without getting silly or pretentious. Gemma Areton is great and balances vulnerability and menace in equal portions, Saoirse O’Reardon is the weaker link in the movie but she doesn’t detract from it either, and her slightly spaced out detached acting style does work for the character. Lastly the visuals in this one still give me chills in parts.
Rating: Blood Bath
5. Near Dark
If you haven’t seen this one seriously check this one out. I cant recommend it enough. It is dark as hell, stylistic and in tone. Directed by the Hurt Lockers Katheryn Bigelow absconds with ex husband James Cameron’s gang of usual suspects. The cast of Aliens have a reunion as a band of modern vampires played by (Hudson) Bill Paxton, (Bishop) Lance Henrikson, (Vasquez) Jeanette Goldstein. Rounded out with a haunting soundtrack by Tangerine Dream (also Firestarter, not the Prodigy one, although Keith Flint is pretty scary)
Rating: Game over man
Again sorry, genre spoilers, I didn’t know this movie was a vampire movie. From the trailer I thought it was about a guy that caught an STD on a Eurotrip that gave him superpowers, like XXX-Men. Shot in found footage style (which I am not usually a fan of except for VHS 1 and 2 and Rec 1 and 2, and Chronicle, oh look never mind) actually makes you try figure out how they did some of the shots, it actually does fit the style of the movie which starts off as a Travel Vidblog of their trip and turns into a documentation of the transformation taking place. Also its shot on location in the amazing Cinque Terre and Le Spezia.
Rating: More entertaining than catching the Herp
3. Let the right one in
The far superior Swedish original to the inevitable Hollywood remake, Let me in. Based on the book of the same name this adaptation has a lot more psychology and better performances overall than its more lifeless clone. I think the ambiguity that is in this movie lasts a long time after you watch it and makes it a more memorable experience.
Rating: Accept no substitutes
I once spoiled the entire movie for a friend by excitedly telling them it was about “zombie making naked space vampires”. It should be obvious being Directed by Poltergiest’s Tobe Hooper and Alien script writer Dan O’Bannon it was going to be something of a genre mash up. The special effects in this movie are still fantastic and came from that golden age of practical effects in film making. It has this slightly Hammer Horror vibe to it but even so its great. It even has Captain Jean Luc Picard in it and I will never get sick of watching that naked space vampire girl walking slowly around just wrecking shit. This is one of the great VHS age Vampire movies.
Rating: I would so let her give me zombie vampirism
1. Vampire Hunter D. Bloodlust
Don’t let the title fool you, you do not need to see any of the other films to appreciate this one. It is an Anime classic and seeing as I’m in full spoiler mode its a post apocalyptic Sci Fi western vampire film. The visuals are astounding and really do transcend the medium into art. The designs are stylish and the story fitting of a Clint Eastwood classic. This is accessible to fans of either Anime, Sci Fi or Horror.
Rating: Fist full of Vampire teeth
So I hope you might have found a couple of hidden genre gems in this list, if you have any you would like to share, pop them in the comments below, I’ll check them out, unless its Twilight in which case no, because they suck.
Till next time my children of the night, what sweet music they make!