Lock up your daughters!
- Angel of Darkness review by NP
An occasionally wooden Stephen Rea plays studious Dr. Hill, whose daughter Lara (Eleanor Tomlinson) glares at people from beneath thickly made-up eyelids: she listens to Joy Division and attempts, in quiet moments, to self-harm (Lara’s mum committed suicide in post natal depression). During one such time, she witnesses a car crash, in which another young girl is ejected and left. That her name is Carmilla should get alarm bells ringing. Carmilla (Julia Petruchia) is bewitching and, as you might imagine, somewhat sinister.
‘Angel of Darkness’, or ‘Styria’ as it is sometimes known, could be said to be a retelling of the Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu vampire story that pre-dates even ’Dracula’, but that’s not to say interesting new things aren’t done with the theme of vampire seduction.
Directors Mauricio Chernovetzky and Mark Devendorf really lay on the atmosphere here, from the beautifully decaying Hungarian castle in which Hill is hurriedly conducting his experiments in the short amount of time available to him, to the wonderfully gothic surrounding gardens and woodlands. This is a modestly budgeted film – in fact I understand it was completed thanks to a Crowdfunding campaign – but it looks superb throughout, with the effective scares taking second place to rich ambience.
The two girls tread that line between mischievous and dangerous, but so skillfully are they played, they never come across as bratty which would be the case in less talented hands.
Sluggish in places it may be, but this is a very enjoyable excursion into gothic horror and provides a very worthwhile and enjoyable new take on the Carmilla story. My score is 8 out of 10.
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