If you remember when vampires were classy and dignified creatures, then I’m sure this film will undoubtedly have some appeal. However, I personally feel that it’s not as good as it could have been, but despite that, its pleasantly dark tone and dramatic storytelling ensure that the film consistently remains an interesting and atmospheric film. Unlike various other films in its genre, this film focuses on a vampire’s point of view, and it doesn’t exactly show the life of its vampire characters with rose-tinted glasses. The vampire life in this film is shown to be one of ceaseless suffering, with the main character seeking only the release of death (and he openly states this at the start of the film).
Somehow, I can’t help but think that this would be a more realistic take on what it might actually be like to be immortal. Since the film’s vampires technically live forever, the writers had the opportunity to subvert the fantasy of eternal youth, much like in The Hunger, a similar film that released over a decade earlier. Unfortunately, there are a few issues regarding the story, mainly the fact that too little happens over the film’s ample runtime (what I would generally call a pacing issue), and there are quite a few unanswered questions raised by the film’s plot. The main characters instantly remind me of some of the characters from the Castlevania games, but only on an aesthetic level. A big problem I notice is that it’s difficult to sympathize with them, and in this regard, the first problem with the characters is that the actors are clearly trying too hard to live up to a melodramatic script. I understand the film’s gothic horror approach, being quite familiar with the genre myself, but there is a point where dramatic acting with an austere tone of voice can become quite campy, and it doesn’t take that much.
The other problem is that one of the film’s central characters (Tom Cruise’s character to be specific) is a contemptible jerk who ruins the lives of everyone who goes near him. The film’s message seems to be that nobody wants to be a vampire, and yet Lestat makes it his business to suck the blood of anything that moves, and when one of the characters calls him out for his behaviour, he calls her insane. Now that I think of it, Lestat’s acting is probably the cheesiest of any character in the film. The other characters aren’t really that likable either, but they’re at least more tolerable, and at least they were blessed with better actors, though it still seems quite weird that the producers decided that the two French vampires should have American accents.
On the plus side, the film is at least capable of taking advantage of the atmospheric quality of the film’s setting, and some very nice costume and set design as well. The film sports a quite theatrical gothic style which, though not exactly unique, certainly sets the tone of the movie quite while. This is perhaps the biggest strength of a film that would otherwise sink before it could swim. Don’t get me wrong, I do think it’s a good movie, but the sad thing is that it could have been far better.
- Score: 71%
- Grade: C