On the surface, Simon is a dedicated teacher, living a normal life. But he has a dark secret - He is a vampire, compelled to drink human blood in order to survive. Using online chat rooms as his hunting grounds, he searches for suicidal young women who satisfy his hunger and ensure his survival. Written by
What's going on? Mina. Do you really want to die? Let me ask you something, Mina. Do you know yourself? You, who decides to kill yourself, but do you really know who you are? Do you know that self? I mean, there are 60 trillion cells inside of you. Do you know that? I mean, how often do you think about that? Mina.
Yes, you do. You think about them all the time. You just don't think about it in the right way, I mean... If your body is an apartment complex, those 60 trillion cells are ...
[...] See more »
This is not a vampire flick. It shouldn't really be necessary to point this out, after all the summary makes it very clear. But it would seem that the reason for this film's overall cold reception is precisely that it doesn't feature supernatural, love-lorn beings to satisfy inhibited sexual desires of self-destruction. Rather, it presents an altogether uncomfortable view on real-life blood-thirst and a controversial look at suicidal obsession.
If you're familiar with Iwai's work, then neither the subject matter nor the style come as much of a surprise. Iwai's staple theme is alienated youth and the thin line between friendship and destruction. In 'All about Lily Chou-Chou', he explored bullying and underage prostitution against a backdrop of how virtual and real-life personalities differ, 'Swallowtail Butterfly' dealt with the ups and downs of a group of misfits bonding and betraying each other, and 'Hana & Alice' showed a close high-school-girl friendship with elements of rivalry over a particular boy.
'Vampire' follows a story which actually happened in Japan: a man convinces young women in suicide chat-rooms to die together with him, eventually tricking them so that he may consume their blood. The focus isn't so much on why he wants to do this (apart from ambivalent references to the quest for immortality), but rather why these women want to die - and this is where I see a continuity with Iwai's other work. It's not so much about the story itself, which takes somewhat unfathomable turns and ends up in a confusing mêlée, but rather the visuals, which create a mystified, surreal and at times even humorous perspective on death. The proverbial 'vampire' is actually seen as a perversion of this theme, which becomes obvious in a rather gory parody of the 'serial killer' image, complete with fangs and cape.
If you wonder what a Japanese film with American actors may look like, then this one may be very well for you. To me, it's been worthwhile just for seeing that the styles of Japanese cinema - character vagueness, visual rendition, and most of all quietness - can be translated into English rather well. However, if you really expect a vampire flick, better wait until the next 'Twilight' segment.
54 of 63 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?