Evil Movie Review: Byzantium
Welcome back to all my blood-sucking, fang-banging friends. Today I want to tell you all about a recent movie featuring vampires from a very different perspective. I mean, the legend of the vampire is so tried and true these days it’s hard to find something unique or creative featuring them. But when I did this week I just knew I had to share it with all of you. So today I want to write a movie review on the flick Byzantium, a vampire-movie like none other I have encountered before. Minimal spoilers to follow.
The film starts off told from Eleanor Webb’s perspective, a 16 year old girl struggling with centuries of lies and guilt. Why is such a young girl suffering from such terrible angst (aside from the usual reasons all teenagers do)? Because she is a vampire. And one of the first scenes of the movie shows her encountering an old man who knows what she is and wants her to end his life.
As the film continues we meet Eleanor’s mother Clara, a stunning woman who continued in her profession as a whore even after being given the gift of immortality. It is, afterall, an easy way to come by meals. And she can be brutal when she needs to be, all in the name of survival.
Now these two female vampires do not display the usual characteristics of the species like fangs or an inability to walk in the sun. Nor do they have special abilities aside from their longevity. But they have a new weapon that is a little disturbing: when aroused at the prospects of a bloodmeal their fingernails will grow very long so that they can easily puncture the veins of their victims and suck them dry.
The movie focuses on a couple aspects of these two complicated women: One of the main storylines involves the constant battle between mother and daughter. Even though they look to be only 5 years apart (as Clara was turned to a vampire at a young age and waited until her daughter was 16 to turn her as well), there is some serious family drama between these two. Clara thinks that everything she does is for Eleanor’s well-being, whereas Eleanor feels oppressed by her mother and struggles with the guilt of living a lie. This movie could have been a straightforward drama if it weren’t for the added magic and mysticsm of being vampires.
The next interesting storyline deals with the slow exposure of events about Eleanor and Clara’s transition in to vampires. I mentioned before this movie is not like any other vampire movie I have seen. These vampires are not changed by others, but by a strange ritual on a deserted island that has to do with ancient evil powers. And it turns out before Clara and Eleanor, vampirism was an all male club. Flashbacks continue to speckle through the movie and reveal some interesting back stories on our heroines.
Overall the movie was fairly interesting. It was not entertaining or action-packed like a lot of current vampire movies, but instead was dark, seductive, twisted, and emotional. It was a nice change of pace from the usual fanged femme fatales we think of when we picture female vampires. Those of you following Biff’s Pulp Corner should definitely check it out.
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