Tag Archives: vampires

What we do in the shadows

Directors: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi; Main Cast: Jemaine Clement, Taika WaititiJonny BrughCori Gonzalez-Macuer;

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Hilarious and very original mockumentary about vampires living as flatmates in modern day Wellington (New Zealand). The audience is introduced to each character with a mix of direct interviews and everyday life scenes and getting to know Viago (Waititi), Deacon (Brugh) and Vladislav (Clement) is funny and highly entertaining. They have problems that are typical when sharing a house: paying rent, keeping up with the chore wheel, overcome conflicts and getting invited into nightclubs; they also have others issues due to being centuries-old vampires: avoiding sunlight, getting fresh human blood, hitting a main artery and not being able to get a sense of their wardrobe without a reflection. In the interviews you get pearls like these:

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There’s also Petyr (Ben Fransham) as forth flatmate, he’s the oldest and most ghoulish vampire of the lot and has a tendency to turn his victims instead of killing them. This is the reason why Nick (Gonzales-Macuer) becomes a vampire and, being new-made, gets to be a guide to his brethren, helping them to overcome modern society’s obstacles. Along with his best friend Stu (Stu Rutherford), who is still human but very understanding, Nick manages to teach Decon, Vlad and Viago to use a computer and internet with pretty interesting results such as dark bidding on Ebay or a Skype conversation with a former minion. They finally have no problem enjoying the nightlife and entering bars and clubs, with their great surprise and delight. In return, they mentor Nick in all-things vampiry: eating in a proper way, fly and turning into a bat, hypnotizing people, dealing with werewolves and so on.

The story flows nicely, it’s engaging and amusing and it’s served well by the documentary style of shooting and editing. The cast is brilliant, especially Waititi and Clement who are also the dark minds behind this film. This movie is a breath of fresh air in this stale genre, it’s unusual and up to the mark with another unconventional take, although very different, on vampire tales: Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive. Diverting —8/10

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Let Me In

Director:  Matt Reeves, Main Cast: Kodi Smit-McPheeChloë Grace MoretzRichard Jenkins;

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This film is an American remake of a Swedish movie (Let The Right One In, which, in turn, is based on a Swedish novel) and it is an edulcorated version, although still belonging to the horror genre. The director/screenwriter used the core, one might say, classical horror elements of the story but left out the true creepy ones that makes it far more macabre. The premise is very simple: Owen (Smit-McPhee), a lonely, neglected 12-year-old, befriends Abby (Moretz), a girl who lives next door, and his life gets better. Oh, yes… nothing is more uplifting than young love, except…well, the girl shows up only at night, doesn’t feel cold (walking bare foot in the snow it’s naught to her) and has a predilection for human blood, possibly fresh from the vein. As usual the audience finds out sooner than Owen about Abby’s true nature, through gruesome serial-killer type attacks carried on by her “father” (Jenkins) and by witnessing Abby’s smooth hunting technique (but rather messy eating manners). Matters will spin out of control, carnage will ensue and the body count will increase (no kidding!). What will survive is the sweet bond between the children… aww, so sweet. Chloe Grace Moretz can channel innocence and vulnerability well enough but I agree with Craig (Craig’s Movie Report ) about her being miscast, she is neither eerie nor scary enough for a horror. I found Kodi Smit-McPhee far more creepier (as children in horror movies should be, remember The Shining? that’s the idea), and he was supposed to be the “good guy”. Anyway the dark, cold atmosphere and the slow but ominous pace of the story still make this film sinister enough that you’ll want to avert your eyes or hug a pillow, which, in my book, qualifies as a job well done for a horror flick. Spooky —6.5/10 

Buy it from Amazon:

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Only Lovers Left Alive

Director: Jim Jarmusch, Main Cast: Tom HiddlestonTilda SwintonMia WasikowskaJohn HurtAnton Yelchin;

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Every film by Jim Jarmusch feels like discovering a hidden treasure. The indie auteur par excellence gives us a story about love, darkness and the beauty of simple things, an extremely unusual take on a current mainstream theme: vampires. I know what you are thinking: “Vampires, seriously! Haven’t we seen and endured enough!?!”; well this is Jarmusch, give him a chance, you won’t be disappointed. The viewer is introduced to the titular lovers with a few masterful scenes. Adam (Hiddlestone) is a reclusive, underground musician with a penchant for science and technology who settled in Detroit (do I see a subtle homage/reference to Terry Gilliam in Adam’s tech contraptions? Maybe, maybe not). Eve (Swinton) is a book-lover (I used to pack like her before the advent of e-readers) and an aesthete, who resides in Tangier. They are both centuries-old vampires but they have found a non-violent way to feed, with the help of compliant doctors, not so much for moral qualms but to avoid hassles and prevent disruptions of their quite life. The audience makes also the acquaintance of Ian (Adam’s agent/helper), friendly, solicitous and  human, and Kit Marlowe, vampire, writer and old friend of Eve. Adam and Eve (always appreciate Jarmusch’s irony) have been together for a very long time and when Eve realises that Adam is depressed (again) about the state of the world, she rushes at his side.  We see them spending time together, in contented simplicity, talking about their past and present and sharing their interests. It is a rather alluring description of long-lasting love and friendship, that will go on with its perfect harmony, as in “my vegetable love should grow, vaster than empires, and more slow” (Andrew Marvell). Their domestic bliss is however shattered by the arrival of impulsive and reckless Ava, Eve’s sister. A poor judgement call on Ava’s part forces Adam and Eve to flee Detroit and go back to Tangier, where more woes await them. It is a haunting film, it feels like that place between sleep and awake. The captivating shots of a deserted Detroit and teeming Tangier tell a whole story by themselves, juxtapose as metaphors for Adam and Eve’s state of mind. The magnetic performances of Hiddlestone and Swinton (eerier than ever) and a mesmerising soundtrack complete the movie and make it a little gem. Beguiling —8/10

 

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Oldies but goldies: From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

Director: Robert Rodriguez, Main Cast:  Harvey KeitelGeorge ClooneyJuliette LewisQuentin TarantinoSalma Hayek;

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First credited collaboration of Rodriguez with Tarantino (the first at the helm, the second at the writing desk) and a brilliant mash-up of genres: action/thriller and vampire splatter horror. In perfect Tarantino’s style the first part is extreme violence (the ordinary, “it’s a wolf eats wolf world” type) and verbal incontinence. The opening scene is a pearl, great introduction of characters! So the pace is set for a action/thriller and when you get comfortable and start to enjoy the ride..bam! Everything goes topsy-turvy and you are in a splatter horror with tons of vampires and an incredible body count. It is not everyone’s cup of tea, aficionados of the two genres might not like it but if you like Tarantino is a must-see movie. Suggested as an antidote to the excess of sugary films that will start to flood the cinemas but especially TV during the upcoming holiday season. —8/10

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