Written as a play by Moira Buffini (Jane Eyre), the 2012 vampire centered film, "Byzantium" has yet to be be properly released, nor promoted since it's post production completion.
With a June 2013 theatrical release date in the United States, "Byzantium" barely surpassed $15,000 of gross sales in it's opening weekend. Although it was only shown in a mere six locations and never graced more than 13 during the entire stretch, the film still manged to scrape up close to $85,000 in a little over a month of viewings. Nothing close to the near $13 million dollar budget that was used to make the film.
In addition to the above mentioned facts, there has been a terrible miscalculation on how the film has been marketed and perceived by the small eye of the public that have been exposed to this.
Quotes that have been chosen and used, include"Seriously Scary" and "10 out of 10," all the while being classified as a horror film. These promotional tools may even be seen on the images that could be used as the cover art later this month when the DVD & Blu Ray versions release.
The truth is, "Byzantium" is far away from being a horror film and shows little to no signs of scares. However, there are plenty of thrilling moments, yet more of an adventurous or romantic nature, therefore I feel that these quotes in which the marketing and advertising department are using at this moment will end up doing this film more harm than good.
Directed by a masterful Neil Jordan (The Crying Game, Interview With The Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, Michael Collins) "Byzantium" is a visual masterpiece without a doubt. The marvelous angles, the constant color contrasting and vibrant visualization of bringing out the deepest and purest color of red during each and every scene that showed blood was miraculous.
The overall story behind "Byzantium" was a refreshing take on another flooded genre in film making and should have been the focal point with the marketing and the direction taken with promotion. The sum of the subtle and effectively executed differences portrayed during the 118 minutes showed a certain level of genius.
However, the flaws in this film teeter the fence dangerously at times, mainly with the length of time the production crew took to deliver a main theme for the film. To put it simply, "What exactly are they getting at?" was the question I asked for damn near an hour.
Unless research was done, or the trailer was watched, viewers were not certain on the full context of the film until the ending sequences. The oftentimes vague nature of the dialogue bred a borderline boredom, where some films can get away with this approach, "Byzantium" could not, however with that being said, the re-watch value is extremely high.
The biggest flaw that irritated me was the relationship between mother and daughter, played by Gemma Arterton (Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time) and Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bones, Atonement). I may be giving away more than I usually do, but I want to say that I couldn't quite understand how and I have a hard time believing that with the daughter being two centuries old, that both women didn't mature out and evolve away from the cliche teenager vs. parent syndrome and the fights and bickering that are well known to arise.
Along with that, the mannerisms, dialogue delivery and overall approach of Caleb Landry Jones (Frank) was piss poor, very awkward to watch and even harder to listen to and understand. This guy looked the part, but he failed miserably when it came to his execution. The scene with him at the top of the school staircase was the final straw with me and him. His inexperience gleamed with the "what should I do with my hands?" disorder.
Overall I only recommend "Byzantium" to fans of Jordan, Arterton and Ronan, because I beleive they will truly appreciate the film for what it is and what it's worth. IMDB has successfully grouped this film in the "Drama" category followed by "Fantasy" and finally "Horror", which in my opinion should be "Romance" instead. I could see "Twilight" fans enjoying this, but not many horror die-hards. You choose and you decide.