Saturday, September 13, 2008

Vampire Diary: Grade C

Vampire Diary (2007)
Anna Walton, Morvin Macbeth; Directors Mark James & Phil O’Shea.

I have questions about vampires and this movie did nothing to clear them up. Aren’t vampires immortal? So what is their fear of being captured or shot by the police? And how nutritious is an exclusive blood diet, anyway? Don’t vampires need the basic 20 amino acids? This movie introduces a whole new set of questions about vampire reproduction as well.

Vicki is a relatively good-looking young woman, in a dark, Addams Family sort of way. She crashes vampire parties held by Gothic teens who wear false fangs and use loads of eye and mouth makeup. Vicki falls in love with Holly, the host of a vampire party, and eventually confesses that she is a real vampire, that she is pregnant, and that she is hungry. Holly shows about sixty seconds of skepticism then vows to help her lover get what she needs. They start hunting derelict drunks, but Vicki complains about the low quality blood, so they have to move upscale. Details are sketchy, but some members of the party crowd turn up dead. The city-wide hunt is on for the “Vampire Killer.”

But the movie is really about the relationship between the two women and the lengths to which Holly will go to protect and sustain her friend. Most disturbing is how the film justifies and ennobles self-mutilation, which is actually a severe psychopathology. Holly cuts herself with a razor blade to feed her lover. Camera work is dark, grainy, shaky hand-held video, and reflects the fact that many young people have video cameras going all the time, objectifying their lives instead of living them, another disturbing trend. Editing is primitive, directing is clunky. I could not evaluate the music, which is from a youth culture I don’t know. But the acting was actually pretty good. As she hands her new baby to Holly before the police get there, Vicki says that she is not really a vampire, just a psychopathic serial killer. There are no vampires, she says. That would have been a good ambiguity to play throughout the story instead of throwing it in at the last minute. Despite the mediocre writing and very low production values, the result is mildly interesting, not too bad.