The Hunger (1983)

The_Hunger_film_posterA lot of vampire films tend to fall victim to the age-old clichés of the horror genre (or more or less the vampire sub-genre films like Dracula helped to create), and as a result, many vampire films tend to age badly. This film, starring Susan Sarandon and David Bowie, offers a different take, focusing on the aspect of familiar vampire lore that entails the prospect of eternal youth. The film revolves around Miriam and John Blaylock, a vampire couple posing as classical music tutors who periodically feed on people in order to maintain eternal youth. However, after John starts to age rapidly, he feels like he has been deceived, and seeks help from a gerontologist named Sarah Roberts, only to be trapped in a state of eternal living death while her former lover satisfies her hunger elsewhere.

To be honest, I found myself disappointed with this film, mainly because of its slow pace, and that sounds like a very odd thing to say about a film that runs for only ninety-six minutes. The main problem with the story is that not a lot really happens, and the film doesn’t so much pace as it plods through a standard runtime. At first, it seemed like the kind of film that would get straight to the point, opening with a scene featuring a live performance from the legendary goth band Bauhaus, and then quickly cutting to a scene where the main characters feed. It was all fine for the first twenty minutes, and then things started to downhill from there. The film’s story generally seems like a jumbled mix of a horror film and an erotic thriller film. Indeed, between the sparse blood-sucking senses, much of the film is focused on atmosphere rather than plot.

The performances exude a very stylish quality, and the actors portraying the main characters fit into their roles like comfy shoes. The late David Bowie played his role as though it came naturally to him, particularly as he ages more rapidly and tries desperately to overcome it. However, I’m disappointed by how little screen time he gets (after halfway through the film, he’s gone). As for the lead female characters, their performances were quite sleek in character, but I can’t help but think that the film’s producers were focusing on the sexual aspect of their characters a little too much.

If anything is done well in the film, it’s the presentation. The film looks and sounds like a very classy vampire film, and I guess that’s one of the things that got me interested in it. I should also commend the film for its atmosphere, but this clear emphasis on style might actually be something of a weakness. It’s like a meal that looks nice, but isn’t exactly satisfying. That’s not to say it’s a bad film by any means. In fact, to some degree, I actually liked the film, but it’s very flawed, and I felt that the writers and producers could have done far better. There’s no reason why a film like this couldn’t have been great, but it felt way too slow, and all too often risked being a contrived erotic horror film without much of either.

  • Score: 68%
  • Grade: C
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