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Michael Colefield is unwillingly thrust into the nightmarish world of vampires when he discovers a secret government organisation operating undercover within the police when his friend Jack disappears under suspicious circumstances on the eve of his wedding. Written by
Mark Smith <email@example.com>
I think Hollywood has forgotten how to do vampires. I grew up watching gothic, quasi-religious Hammer Horror films from good olde England. But, sadly, period pieces are no longer popular...neither are positive depictions of religion, for that matter. The days of Dracula stalking through Victorian London and being repelled by crosses are over. Nowadays, we get scantily clad teenage girls or George Clooney kicking vampire butt with kung fu and shotguns. It's been a long, long downward spiral for the lords of the Undead.
And yet, every once in a while, I ferret out a little vampire gem. The "Ultraviolet" DVD set was gathering dust on my brother's shelf when I decided to give it a whirl late one night. I didn't get hooked right away; the direction in episode one is a bit disjointed, and the first modern day vampire looks cheesy. But, ten minutes in, I found myself starting to care about the characters. They got me.
This, my friends, is how to do vampires today. Religion is acknowledged, but is not an overwhelming force. Modern technology is used to combat the vampires more effectively, but they're still formidable foes - so you won't see them overcome with holy water-filled Super Soakers. In fact, "Ultraviolet" consistently plays to the vampires' strengths. They're subtle, stealthy, and seductive...like vampires should be. In too many recent films, they've been depicted as zombie-like "shock" troops; here, they're back in best scheming form. After all, if you live forever, you have lots of time to make elaborate plans...
Not much by way of special effects here, but they're not really needed. There are some truly great suspense segments (particularly in episode five), and the acting is solid all around. I don't really think Jack Davenport ("Coupling") is miscast, as one other commentator suggested; he makes a good everyman.
The closest American counterpart to "Ultraviolet" is "The X-Files," but the investigations in that show just didn't seem realistic to me. The police and medical procedures in "Ultraviolet" are, on the surface, more authentic. They're probably still bogus, but at least they're not *as* bogus.
Sadly, the Brits only made one six-episode season, and creator Joe Ahearne says he pretty much got his message across in that short time. So, if you have six free hours to watch the best vampire entertainment in years, go to it!
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