Tag Archives: vampire movies

The Bored and the Beautiful

Dead & Beautiful

by Hope Madden

Oh, they’re so attractive. They’re so rich. In fact, the five souls at the center of writer/director David Verbeek’s Dead & Beautiful are so attractive and rich that they have to stick together because literally no one else on earth can understand where they come from.

Each has a family fortune in the billions, and every week one of the five takes a “turn” — they decide what the group will do for fun, and their buddies have to participate, no questions asked. But it’s so hard! They’ve done everything.

Verbeek makes his point early. These five people contribute nothing to the world. As the rich and beautiful, they are the alpha predators. And yet, their unfulfilled lives spin out of control after one “turn” may have inadvertently changed them into vampires.

Thus begins the psychological experiment. When you have no soul to begin with, you’ve essentially lived off the masses your whole life, is there really any difference between you and a vampire?

We find out in rain-slicked, neon-tinted urban late nights, following five impossibly thin and unreasonably attractive people through a whole lot of nothing.

Very, very little happens during this movie. Camaraderie and sexual tensions feel fake. Individual suffering rings false. The psychological game at the heart of the action is as bloodless as the film itself. This is a horror film in the loosest sense.

Dead and Beautiful would play more like a social satire if it didn’t emulate the same tedious, vacuous billionaire youth that it pretends to skewer.

A handful of funny moments help the time pass, mainly thanks to Philip Juan, whose character believes he mind-controlled his way into a pack of Wrigley’s spearmint gum. A frustrating number of scenes begin with great promise — well-framed, intriguingly populated possibilities for those alpha predators to prove their label. What’s frustrating is how blandly these scenes all end.

Verbeek lenses a gorgeous late-night cityscape — never sinister, never forbidding, just pretty and mainly empty. Like his film.  

Undead American Summer

Black As Night

by George Wolf

“That was the summer I got breasts and fought vampires.”

Yes, a lot is happening in Shawna’s life, but Black As Night never loses that matter-of-fact teenage perspective even as it broaches some plenty familiar horror terrain.

Shawna (Asjha Cooper) and her BFF Pedro (Fabrizio Guido) uncover a ring of vampires in their New Orleans precinct, and it’s going to take some help from the hunky Chris (Mason Beauchamp) and a privileged Twilight fan (Abbie Gayle) to track down the lead bloodsucker and take him out.

Black As Night is part of 2021’s “Welcome to the Blumhouse” collaboration with Amazon, and it continues last season’s focus on films by and about women and/or people of color.

Director Maritte Lee Go and writer Sherman Payne mix Candyman‘s themes of gentrification and disposable populations with the surface level adventures of Buffy and The Lost Boys for a vampire tale that is most noteworthy for its fresh cultural lens.

The message isn’t unique or particularly subtle, production values can be shaky and there’s a hearty helping of exposition shortcuts, but these kids have spunk. Cooper makes Shawna’s journey from insecure wallflower to confident vampire killer an endearing one, and Keith David is here to lend his always welcome gravitas.

And though it often feels like Black As Night is content to just jump on a crowded ride, it consistently finds small moments to call its own. Plus, large numbers of vampires to kill!

So, how was your summer?

The Lady Is A Vamp

Jakob’s Wife

by George Wolf

Her name is Anne Fedder. But Jakob’s Wife pretty much sums up the nearly invisible routine Anne (Barbara Crampton) is living.

Jakob Fedder (Larry Fessenden) is the well-known pastor of a small town church, and Anne is well known as his wife. Anne’s life seems to have only gotten smaller during her thirty-year marriage, and if pressed, she’d probably admit she wouldn’t mind a little shakeup.

A late-night meeting with old boyfriend Tom (Robert Rusler)? Intriguing, but his seduction skills got nuthin’ on The Master (Bonnie Aarrons, aka The Nun), who’s waiting on them both.

The next morning, Jakob gets the first clue that things will be changing.

“Did you make breakfast?” he asks.

Anne answers, “I’m not hungry.”

At least not for pancakes. After The Master’s touch, Anne is a brand new woman, sporting fresh hair and makeup, tight, low-cut dresses and provocative new appetites.

It’s no wonder this has been a passion project for Crampton (who’s also a producer), and she makes the extended feminist metaphor ring gloriously true.

Director/co-writer Travis Stevens (Girl on the Third Floor) wraps the bloodlusty tale in a fun retro vibe of ’80s low-budget practical, blood spurting gore, but it’s Crampton (and the chemistry with her fellow horror vet Fessenden) who truly elevates this beyond the standard vampire playbook.

To see a female character of this age experiencing a spiritual, philosophical and sexual awakening is alone refreshing, and Crampton (looking fantastic, by the way) makes Anne’s cautious embrace of her new ageless wonder an empowering – and even touching – journey.

Stevens revels in the B-movie underpinnings, stopping short of tackling any systemic issues inherent in a woman’s longtime restlessness. The focus stays intimate, and only on how Anne’s new freedom affects Jakob and their local community (which remains nameless, though filming was entirely in Mississippi).

But with Crampton and Fessenden so completely in their element, Jakob’s Wife is an irresistibly fun take on the bite of eternity. Here, it’s not about taking souls, it’s about empowering them. And once this lady is a vamp, we’re the lucky ones.

Bite Club

Bit

by Hope Madden

There is something appealing to the glam trainwreck that is Bit, Brad Michael Elmore’s anti-Twilight.

An angsty adolescent fresh from high school graduation voice overs: “You know those teen vampire movies that feel like the horny soap opera fever dreams of an 8th grade diary? Here’s how mine began.”

Like it. It’s self-aware, a little deadpan funny, a little whatever. Go on.

Laurel (Nicole Maines), the recent grad, packs up her Oregon-plated car and takes off to spend the summer with her brother in LA. On her very first night in town, she’s hit on by  the super hot girl Izzy (Zolee Griggs), brought to an after hours full of incredibly cool people, and immediately she feels as if she’s found acceptance, found home.

Naturally, Izzy and her also-hot friends are lesbian vampires who see Laurel’s specialness and invite her to Bite Club.

First rule of Bite Club: No. Fucking. Boys.

Maines is a transgender actress, a fact that elevates Laurel’s angsty “oh, high school was kind of a horror show” schtick because it probably was. Maines does not show an enormous amount of range, unfortunately, and Elmore’s script offers her few opportunities to shine.

She’s entirely convincing with her eyes at half mast, enduring the well-meaning but clueless affection of her family. But Elmore penned very few realistic reasons for Laurel’s behavior and Maines is left struggling to convince us, simply repeating the phrase “I’m fine” ad nauseam.

Diana Hopper, on the other hand, cuts an impressive figure as Bit’s Tyler Durden. Hopper elevates Elmore’s sometimes weak dialog (there are times when it works) with wearied badassedness.

It is fun and sometimes really witty the way Bit mocks boys, though, even if Elmore’s core theme is, “Some of us are OK!” Indeed, Bit undercuts its feminist intent as often as it offers genuine insight.

But maybe its main thesis is that kids are stupid, because Laurel’s philosophy for the future of the human race is…well, it’s stupid.

Still, there’s low-rent garbage fun to be had with this. Everything about it could have been better, but like most guilty pleasures, it appeals in a sugar high kind of way.

Fright Club: Maybe a Vampire

So many vampires – so many! And then there are all these other guys who may or may not be. Sometimes it’s hard to say. Sure they drink blood, but do they really need to? Let’s explore.

5. Vampire’s Kiss (1988)

Sure, Nicolas Cage is a whore, a has-been, and his wigs embarrass us all. But back before The Rock (the film that turned him), Cage was always willing to behave in a strangely effeminate manner, and perhaps even eat a bug. He made some great movies that way.

Peter Lowe (pronounced with such relish by Cage) believes he’s been bitten by a vampire (Jennifer Beals) during a one night stand. It turns out, he’s actually just insane. The bite becomes his excuse to indulge his self-obsessed, soulless, predatory nature for the balance of the running time.

Cage gives a masterful comic performance in Vampire’s Kiss as a narcissistic literary editor who descends into madness. The actor is hilarious, demented, his physical performance outstanding. The way he uses his gangly mess of limbs and hulking shoulders inspires darkly, campy comic awe. And the plastic teeth are awesome.

Peter may believe he abuses his wholesome editorial assistant Alva (Maria Conchita Alonso) with sinister panache because he’s slowly turning into a demon, but we know better.

4. The Transfiguration (2016)

Milo likes vampire movies.

Eric Ruffin plays Milo, a friendless teen who believes he is a vampire. What he is really is a lonely child who finds solace in the romantic idea of this cursed, lone predator. But he’s committed to his misguided belief.

All this changes when Milo meets Sophie (Chloe Levine), another outsider and the only white face in Milo’s building. A profound loneliness haunts this film, and the believably awkward behavior of both Ruffin and Levine is as charming as it is heartbreaking.

The Transfiguration is a character study as much as a horror film, and the underwritten lead, slow burn and somewhat tidy resolution undercut both efforts.

Still, there’s an awful lot going for this gritty, soft-spoken new image of a teenage beast.

3. The Reflecting Skin (1990)

Writer/director Philip Ridley has a fascinating imagination, and his film captures your attention from its opening moments.

Seth Dove lives with his emotionally abusive mother and his soft but distant father, who run a gas station in rural Idaho sometime after WWII. Seth’s older brother Cameron (Viggo Mortensen) is off serving in Japan. Seth has decided that the neighborhood widow Dolphin Blue (a wonderfully freaky Lindsay Duncan) is a vampire.

Positively horrible things begin to happen, each of them clouded by the dangerous innocence of our point of view character.

The film plays a bit like a David Lynch effort, but with more honesty. Rather than the hallucinatory dreaminess Lynch injects into films like Blue Velvet (the most similar), this film is ruled by the ferociously logical illogic of childhood.

With this point of view, the realities of a war blend effortlessly with the possibility of vampires. Through little Seth Dove’s eyes, everything that happens is predictably mysterious, as the world is to an 8-year-old. His mind immediately accepts every new happening as a mystery to unravel, and the jibberish adults speak only confirm that assumption.

This film is a beautiful, horrifying, fascinating adventure unlike most anything else available.

2. Cronos (1993)

In 1993, writer/director Guillermo del Toro announced his presence with authorty by way of this tender and unusual “vampire” flick. Del Toro favorites Federico Luppi and Ron Perlman star. Luppi is Jesus Gris, the elder statesman, an antique store owner, loving husband and doting grandfather.

Perlman plays Angel, a thug – what else? Angel’s miserable but very rich uncle wants an Archangel statue from Gris’s store, but the real value has already found its way into Gris’s veins.

A vampire film of sorts, it’s a beautiful story about faith and love – not to mention the real meaning of immortality. Performances are wonderful, and watching this masterful filmmaker find his footing is the real joy.

1. Martin (1978)

Martin (John Amplas) is a lonely young man who believes he’s a vampire. He may be – the film is somewhat ambivalent about it, which is one of the movie’s great strengths. He daydreams in black and white of cloaks, fangs and mobs carrying pitchforks.

Or are those memories? Does Martin’s uncle hate him because Martin, as he claims, is really in his Eighties, as his uncle would surely know? Romero has fun balancing these ideas, tugging between twisted but sympathetic serial killer and twisted but sympathetic undead.

Romero’s understated film is more of a character study than any of his other works, and Amplas is up to the task. Quietly unnerving and entirely sympathetic, you can’t help but root for Martin even as he behaves monstrously. It’s a bit like rooting for Norman Bates. Sure, he’s a bad guy, but you don’t want him to get into any trouble!

The film’s a generational culture clash wrapped in a lyrical fantasy, but quietly so. It’s touching, gory at times, often quite tense, and really well made. That, and it’s all so fabulously Seventies!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNIGTSdKPl0





Milo and Orlok

The Transfiguration

by Hope Madden

Milo likes vampire movies.

So, it would seem, does writer/director Michael O’Shea, whose confident feature debut shows us the relationship between the folklore and the life of a forlorn high school outcast.

Eric Ruffin plays Milo, a friendless teen who believes he is a vampire. What he is really is a lonely child who finds solace in the romantic idea of this cursed, lone predator. But he’s committed to his misguided belief.

The film opens in a public men’s room. A man washing his hands overhears what he believes to be a sex act underway in a nearby stall. In fact, Milo is sucking the life out of a middle aged business man, then pocketing his cash and heading silently back to the rundown NY apartment he shares with his older brother.

All this changes when Milo meets Sophie (Chloe Levine), another outsider and the only white face in Milo’s building. The two strike up a friendship and sweet courtship, despite the fact that Sophie prefers the glittery Twilight saga, while Milo’s interests (like, presumably, O’Shea’s) are more “realistic.”

O’Shea’s film borrows ideas from George Romero’s Martin, Tomas Alfredson’s Let the Right One In, and openly gushes over Murnau’s Nosferatu.

So does Milo. It’s a way the filmmaker authenticates the teen’s self-determined transformation. Inside and out, the film draws on the best in vampire cinema to help Milo deal with a world in which he is a freak no matter what he decides to do.

A profound loneliness haunts this film, and the believably awkward behavior of both Ruffin and Levine is as charming as it is heartbreaking.

Ruffin’s performance borders on impenetrable, which often works in the film’s favor, but as often does not. His big eyes and expressionless face depict a lost soul, his demeanor simultaneously sympathetic and menacing. But there’s too little arc.

The Transfiguration is a character study as much as a horror film, and the underwritten lead, slow burn and somewhat tidy resolution undercut both efforts.

Still, there’s an awful lot going for this gritty, soft-spoken new image of a teenage beast.

Verdict-3-5-Stars





Fright Club: Best Female Vampire Movies

An aching loneliness tends to be the overwhelming theme of any vampire film that focuses primarily on the female predator – unless, of course, the focus is girl-on-girl action. But even then, aching loneliness, too. Whether evil bloodsuckers or just tragic and doomed to feed off the living, there’s something peculiarly spooky about these ladies. Here we celebrate the vampiress with our countdown of the five(ish) best female vampire movies.

Listen to the podcast, complete with a live studio audience, HERE.

5. The Hunger (1983)

Director Tony Scott’s seductive vampire love story has a little bit of everything: slaughter, girl-on-girl action, ’80s synth/goth tunage, David Bowie. What more can you ask?

Actually the film’s kind of a sultry, dreamily erotic mess. Oh, the gauzy, filmy curtains. Catharine Deneuve is the old world vampire Miriam, David Bowie is her lover. But he suddenly begins aging, and she needs to find a replacement. Enter Susan Sarandon as a medical specialist in unusual blood diseases and a fine actress who’s not above smooching other girls.

There are three reasons people will always watch this film: Bowie, Catherine Deneuve’s seduction of Susan Sarandon (classy!), and the great dark-wave Bauhaus number Bela Lugosi’s Dead. Together it’s a Goth Trifecta! And Goths do love them some vampires.

4. Daughters of Darkness (1971)

Seduction, homoeroticism, drowsy lustfulness – this one has it all.

Countess Bathory – history’s female version of Dracula – checks into an all-but-abandoned seaside hotel. The only other guests, besides the Countess’s lover, Ilona, is a honeymooning couple.

Effortlessly aristocratic, Delphine Seyrig brings a tender coyness, a sadness to the infamous role of Bathory. Seyrig’s performance lends the villain a tragic loveliness that makes her the most endearing figure in the film. Everybody else feels mildly unpleasant, a sinister bunch who seem to be hiding things. The husband, in particular, is a suspicious figure, and a bit peculiar. Kind of a dick, really – and Bathory, for one, has no time for dicks.
Caring less for the victims than for the predator – not because she’s innocent or good, but because her weary elegance makes her seem vulnerable – gives the film a nice added dimension.

The accents are absurd. The outfits are glorious. The performances are compellingly, perversely good, and the shots are gorgeous. Indulge yourself.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFRuSbykaV0

3. Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)

Leave it to visionary writer/director Jim Jarmusch to concoct a delicious black comedy, oozing with sharp wit and hipster attitude.

Great lead performances don’t hurt, either, and Jarmusch gets them from Tom Hilddleston and Tilda Swinton as Adam and Eve (perfect!), a vampire couple rekindling their centuries-old romance against the picturesque backdrop of…Detroit.

Not since the David Bowie/Catherine Deneuve pairing in The Hunger has there been such perfectly vampiric casting. Swinton and Hiddleston, already two of the most consistently excellent actors around, deliver cooly detached, underplayed performances, wearing the world- weariness of their characters in uniquely contrasting ways.

There is substance to accent all the style. The film moseys toward its perfect finale, casually waxing Goth philosophic about soul mates and finding your joy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TbxI_oRSKI

2. Let the Right One In (2008)/Let Me In (2010)

Let’s be honest, we’ve combined these two films just to make room for an additional film in the countdown. In 2008, Sweden’s Let the Right One In emerged as an original, stylish thriller – and the best vampire flicks in years. A spooky coming of age tale populated by outcasts in the bleakest, coldest imaginable environment, the film breaks hearts and bleeds victims in equal measure. Kare Hedebrant‘s Oskar with a blond Prince Valiant cut falls innocently for the odd new girl (an outstanding Lina Leandersson) in his shabby apartment complex. Reluctantly, she returns his admiration, and a sweet and bloody romance buds.

Hollywood’s 2010 version is the less confusingly entitled Let Me In. Director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) managed to retain the spirit of the source material, while finding ways to leave his own mark on the compelling story of an unlikely friendship.

While the original had an ominous sense of dread, a feel of bleak isolation, and a brazen androgyny that the update can’t touch, Let Me In scores points all its own. Reeves, also adapting the screenplay, ups the ante on the gore, and provides more action, scares and overall shock value.

Together the films set the standard for child vampire fare, and neither one should be missed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Hz0x67hMcg

1. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)

Writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour has made the world’s first Iranian vampire movie, and though she borrows liberally and lovingly from a wide array of inspirations, the film she’s crafted is undeniably, peculiarly her own.

Set in Bad Town, a city depleted of life – tidy yet nearly vacant – Girl haunts the shadowy, lonesome fringes of civilization. The image is highly stylized, with a hip quirkiness and stationary camera framings that noticeably mine Jarmusch’s early work. Indeed, Amirpour seems an avid fan of American indies of the Eighties and Nineties, as well as the films of endlessly imitated French New Wave filmmakers and Sergio Leone – so that’s a mish mash. But Amirpour effortlessly balances the homages and inspirations, the cultural nuances alive in Girl giving every scene a uniqueness that makes the whole effort surprising.

Amirpour is blessed with a cinematographer in Lyle Vincent capable of translating her theme of loneliness in a dead end town, as well as the cultural influences and Eighties pop references, into a seamless, hypnotic, mesmerizingly lovely vision. The film is simply, hauntingly gorgeous.





Day 20: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

Writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour has made the world’s first Iranian vampire movie, and though she borrows liberally and lovingly from a wide array of inspirations, the film she’s crafted is undeniably, peculiarly her own.

Amirpour is blessed with a cinematographer in Lyle Vincent capable of translating her theme of loneliness in a dead end town, as well as the cultural influences and Eighties pop references, into a seamless, hypnotic, mesmerizingly lovely vision. The film is simply, hauntingly gorgeous.

Set in Bad Town, a city depleted of life – tidy yet nearly vacant – Girl haunts the shadowy, lonesome fringes of civilization. The image is highly stylized, with a hip quirkiness and stationary camera framings that noticeably mine Jarmusch’s early work. Indeed, Amirpour seems an avid fan of American indies of the Eighties and Nineties, as well as the films of endlessly imitated French New Wave filmmakers and Sergio Leone – so that’s a mish mash. But Amirpour effortlessly balances the homages and inspirations, the cultural nuances alive in Girl giving every scene a uniqueness that makes the whole effort surprising.

Amirpour develops a deliberate pace that makes the film feel longer, slower than is probably necessary. The time is spent with singular individuals – a prostitute (a world-wearied and magnificent Mozhan Marno), a drug addicted father (Marshall Manesh), a street urchin (Milad Eghbali), a pimp (Dominic Rains), and a rich girl (Rome Shadanloo). Two people weave in among these players – the handsome Arash (Arash Marandi), and a lonesome vampire (Sheila Vand).

Though these are character types more than characters outright, Amirpour and her actors don’t abandon them. Each has breath and dimensionality, their fate a question that piques sympathy.

Vand’s Girl is the constant question mark, and that – along with the eerie, sometimes playful beauty of Vincent’s camerawork – is what makes the film unshakably memorable. I promise the image of a vampire on a skateboard will stay with you.

Listen weekly to MaddWolf’s horror podcast FRIGHT CLUB. Do it!





Spike Lee’s Next Remake

Back in 1973, sandwiched between blaxsploitation classics Blacula and its sequel, Scream Blacula Scream, Philadelphia playwright Bill Gunn quietly released his own Africa-rooted vampire tale, Ganja and Hess. Critically acclaimed yet virtually unseen at the time, the film has been lovingly reanimated by Spike Lee.

Da Sweet Blood of Jesus follows wealthy academic Dr. Hess Green (Stephen Tyrone Williams) through a very life-altering couple of weeks.

As in G&H, Hess suffers an addition to blood after being attacked with one of the ancient African artifacts he collects. He soon falls for his attacker’s brassy ex-wife Ganja (Zaraah Abrahams).

Though Lee’s film is nearly a shot for shot remake of Gunn’s, he wisely cuts and tweaks certain scenes to effectively update themes and improve pacing.

Vampire tales are always metaphorical, and Lee certainly keeps with this tradition. While Gunn’s original used the traditional vampire movie tropes to examine the era’s racial and cultural tensions, Lee’s film grounds the same examination with more modern concerns.

The object of Gunn’s wrath was, among other things, the cultural imperialism of the white majority. Lee puts this on the back burner in favor of more parasitic epidemics. Lee likens the spread of vampirism to irresponsible sex, leaving its own form of neglected children and disease in its wake.

Lee’s version also has a little more sly fun with race relations, injecting the picture with welcome comic relief now and again. Rami Malek, for instance, is an understated hoot as Hess’s uptight, formal butler.

Lee has less luck with the rest of his cast, though.

Gunn’s titular characters – Duane Jones (Night of the Living Dead) and the stunning Marlene Clark – were charismatic romantic leads. Abrahamson has all the swagger but none of the smolder, while Williams lacks the passion and gravitas Jones wielded so naturally.

Williams is the larger problem. The film opens with breathtaking footage of the actor dancing across NYC – his fluidity and grace are gorgeous. His acting, on the other hand, is as rigid and unbreathing as anything you’ll ever see.

There are also simple storyline problems that Lee neglected to address, and without the compelling romantic relationship to distract you, they are more glaring now than they were in ’73.

It’s not Lee’s first or worst misstep with a remake, and Sweet Blood certainly holds up better than his 2013 remake debacle of Chan-wook Park’s classic Oldboy. That film may have suffered from Hollywood entanglements, a problem Lee sidestepped this time around by crowd funding. But his limited budget likely led to actors who were not quite up to the task.

Verdict-2-5-Stars





The Lady is a Vamp

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

by Hope Madden

Earlier this year Jim Jarmusch released his vampire film, Only Lovers Left Alive – a brilliant and woefully underseen flick. Had he not released that film, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night would certainly be the most Jarmusch-y vampire movie ever made.

In fact, writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour has made the world’s first Iranian vampire movie, and though she borrows liberally and lovingly from a wide array of inspirations, the film she’s crafted is undeniably, peculiarly her own.

Amirpour is blessed with a cinematographer in Lyle Vincent capable of translating her theme of loneliness in a dead end town, as well as the cultural influences and Eighties pop references, into a seamless, hypnotic, mesmerizingly lovely vision. The film is simply, hauntingly gorgeous.

Set in Bad Town, a city depleted of life – tidy yet nearly vacant – Girl haunts the shadowy, lonesome fringes of civilization. The image is highly stylized, with a hip quirkiness and stationary camera framings that noticeably mine Jarmusch’s early work. Indeed, Amirpour seems an avid fan of American indies of the Eighties and Nineties, as well as the films of endlessly imitated French New Wave filmmakers and Sergio Leone – so that’s a mish mash. But Amirpour effortlessly balances the homages and inspirations, the cultural nuances alive in Girl giving every scene a uniqueness that makes the whole effort surprising.

Amirpour develops a deliberate pace that makes the film feel longer, slower than is probably necessary. The time is spent with singular individuals – a prostitute (a world-wearied and magnificent Mozhan Marno), a drug addicted father (Marshall Manesh), a street urchin (Milad Eghbali), a pimp (Dominic Rains), and a rich girl (Rome Shadanloo). Two people weave in among these players – the handsome Arash (Arash Marandi), and a lonesome vampire (Sheila Vand).

Though these are character types more than characters outright, Amirpour and her actors don’t abandon them. Each has breath and dimensionality, their fate a question that piques sympathy.

Vand’s Girl is the constant question mark, and that – along with the eerie, sometimes playful beauty of Vincent’s camerawork – is what makes the film unshakably memorable. I promise the image of a vampire on a skateboard will stay with you.

Verdict-4-0-Stars