Kathleen Conklin, a doctoral student in philosophy, finds herself with a new perspective on the nature of evil and humanity after being bitten by a vampire in New York City....Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
Abel Ferrara's moody, allegorical vampire tale makes fascinating and pointed statements on sin and redemption, spirituality and the nature of good (there's precious little of it) and evil (no one is safe from it). And unfortunately, but not surprisingly, it was relatively ignored in America.
Lili Taylor gives a brooding, glib and haunting central performance as Kathleen Conklin, a New York University grad student who is pulled into an alley and bitten by a seductive female vampire (Annabella Sciorra), from which she emerges uncontrollably drawn into a world of violence and insatiable cravings for human blood. Ferrara's irredeemable urban hell landscape is more immediate and frightening than a million Transylvanias and by contrasting Taylor's "addiction" to the horrors of the past (war atrocities, the Holocaust) and present (heroine, AIDS), the film has more bite and impact than any fang-bearing, gore or special effects could even attempt to muster up. Nicolas St. John's intriguing philosophical screenplay and Ken Kelsch's gorgeous black and white photography (creating a world solely of light and dark, which is a key element in the plot), are not to be overlooked either.
Call it pretentious for the philosophy references (Sarte, Nietzche...) if you want, but this highly intelligent and disturbing low-budgeter is one of the most accomplished and well-thought out horror films I've ever seen. Don't let over-hyped, attention hogging Hollywood productions like BRAM STOKER'S Dracula or INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE keep you from seeing it.
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