When a group of couples embark on a moneymaking clinical trial set deep in the heart of the British countryside, in a historic and gothic castle for a haven, they encounter worse symptoms than they could have imagined. The castle seems to hold a secret far worse than medical studies gone wrong – it’s home to some of the eldest and most feared creatures of all of mythology.
It’s easy to spot a British film when the opening title sequences feature a white van driving down dark and dank country road. Shot in just four weeks by direct Richard Johnstone, this indie film is a fresh approach to the vampire genre that seems to have become a dying breed within the modern horror genre. For something made in such a short amount of time, there are plenty of aspects that make it a little gem with some crisp ideas floating around.
Stories that centre around clinical trials always manage to pull in my attention, possibly due to the fact that we’ve all heard “real-life” horror stories about them, yet the money still sounds worth potentially losing a leg. This situation is probably a bit worse than your average expectations of what could go wrong, but that’s why it works so well. The only reason I guessed that there would be a lot of blood loss is purely down to the title – without that I would have thought it was going to be about the horrific effects of the drugs they were taking.
In places the acting lacks in quality, especially the male journalist – he really needs to work on how to portray emotions whilst still looking like a relatively normal human being. The best acting throughout the entire film was actually the young girl, she did outstandingly well at becoming this frightful demon child that continuously tormented one of the innocent woman there, until she had her thirst quenched.
In terms of gore, there wasn’t too much but vampires are probably the cleanest killers of all, so other than copious amounts of blood being spilt and wasted, there wasn’t much in terms of nasty death scenes. Just a little blood drinking here and there. The facial features of the vampires were done well, and it was clear that inspiration was taken from The Master in Buffy The Vampire Slayer, where the overall look is very human but with all the teeth sharply jagged and the face ever so slightly distorted. It felt as if there were more that could have been added to their atmosphere – for some reason the vampires just weren’t threatening enough to really make an impact on me.
There’s always something for everyone in a vampire film as they’ve been around since the dawn of time, but what you always need with the genre is a sense of mysticism as these creatures are meant to be deceiving, sly and able to get away with murder. Although there was a strong build up for a turn of events, the hints were dropped too soon and it became evidently clear why the subjects had been taken to a disclosed location.
Vampires isn’t the type of film you’ll be watching if you’re looking for something overtly heart startling or so intensely gory you keep retching. It’s the type of film that injects a little bit of flair into the genre, whilst doing the best it can on time and budget constraints. For that, you can’t help but give it praise for being a fearful and blood-soaked classic monster movie that tries to bring something new and different to the examining table.
Words: Zoe Rose Smith (@ZoeRoseSmitz)