Spoilers follow ...
- Vampires review by NP
A group of young people agree to subject themselves to a 30-day medical trial in order to win themselves £10,000 each. Among them are Rachael, who hides her illness, sensible Sam, Julie who’s every gesture and expression is a tantrum waiting to happen, feisty Tracey and journo Amanda. Among the menfolk are cockney Steve, Scott, massive Martin, non-descript Dave. The trial is conducted not in the controlled environment of a hospital, but the vast rooms of an isolated castle.
This is a low-budget production written and directed by Richard Johnstone. The colour grading and cinematography are exceptional – very bleak and foreboding, but possessed of a kind of melancholic beauty at the same time. It wasn’t until I saw the extras that I realised how much post-production work went into managing the colours and textures of the visuals.
Where the lack of budget does have a detrimental effect, however, is reflected in some of the performances and lack of actual scares. An exception to that is the scene toward the end featuring one vampire character slowly succumbing to the effects of sunlight, which is terrific.
My favourite performances might well come from the evil-doers. The Co-ordinatior (Patrick Wilde), his secretary (Judith Alexander) and especially the little girl Jessica (Holly Newton) all exude a measured level of evil that becomes more blatant and bestial toward the end, when the true nature of the vampires is revealed.
Although ‘Vampires’ doesn’t quite gel together, it is quite clearly made with a lot of skill and love –some scenes (often the simplest) have a real sinister quality about them (Rachael being called to her undoing by a whispering child, for example).
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