While zombies may be the current rage and vampires have been reduced to sparkly insults to their once dominant power in the horror industry, there are still filmmakers out there trying to keep the blood thirsty creatures of the night where they belong. The latest Kiss of the Damned comes from director Xan Cassavetes, daughter of actor/director John Cassavettes and looks to be bringing the horror back to vampires, but does she have the meat to make it work?
Kiss of the Damned follows a beautiful vampire who cannot resist the advances of a handsome screenwriter and gives into her passion. But when her sister unexpectedly comes to visit her love story is threatened and the entire vampire community becomes endangered. While this film doesn’t so much focus on the horror side of vampires, it does still tell an intriguing story and keep the mythology intact. The film has a bit of a slow build and not a whole lot of set up, but once they begin to move things along it takes on an artsy style to the classic vampire romance that lures you into the darkness. If they had just let the relationship aspect lead this film it would have quickly become mundane, but thankfully they continue to add numerous characters and layers to create an entire little world for this story to play in and works effectively. The performances are well done throughout the film and kept to a simplistic nature with no character ever getting too far out there and in turn making the film stay grounded in the world it created for itself.
Finally we have vampires with fangs, drinking blood, killing people and playing around in the carnal pleasures of the night which is all too rare in the genre these days. This film lets the blood flow, the sex take over and delivers a dark love story that is both classic and contemporary all at once. Some aspects of the film seem to lend itself to perception, but it all comes together perfectly to create a well-crafted vampire film. Some may find it a bit too artsy, but no one will be able to deny its passion and commitment to the genre.