A rather anemic affair

by Nav Qateel

This is very much a Shunji Iwai movie, and I don’t mean just because the director wrote and filmed it (also edited and wrote the music), but even with mostly a western cast, it felt like a Japanese film, which was very cool by me as I happen to be a fan of Japanese cinema. That said, I can like these movies where some will find this one strange, and certain aspects bizarre, of which they most definitely are. The one that springs to mind (other than having your mother almost floating about the house), and was the most obvious, was when Laura hands Simon a caterpillar on a leaf, telling him it wanted to come with them. That’s the sort of thing the uninitiated are going to find odd, but is very much standard fare on these movies. What isn’t standard is having women supported by a bunch of large balloons, which supposedly prevents her from wandering outside her room. Recently, I’ve watched a lot of these movies, and certain things go through your head, like, how in hell did they think of doing such-and-such, but the balloon thing really had me scratching my head. I mean, really?

Vampire (2011)
Written and Directed by
Shunji Iwai
Kevin Zegers, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Amanda Plummer, Rachael Leigh Cook, Katharine Isabelle
DVD Release Date
20 August, 2013
Nav’s Grade: C

Simon (Kevin Zegers) is a biology teacher who has a strange hobby. He partakes in drinking human blood (for no apparent reason, I might add). He lives with his mother (Amanda Plummer) who has alzheimers and is prone to wandering outside on her own, so Simon rigs up a balloon thing (for want of a better word), which prevents unwanted escapades by mom. He hangs around a website called “Side by Cide,” hoping to catch someone (always pretty young females) who want to die with him, and this is how he gets them to meet and be drained of all their blood. They think he’ll do himself after their death, but of course, he’s only interested in them doing the dying part of it (sensible I suppose).

Laura King (Rachael Leigh Cook) has started hanging around Simon and his mother, hoping Simon will show interest, but after she thinks he has a girlfriend, she starts snooping around, picking locks in his house. We see Simon carry out one successful assisted suicide, but his others don’t go as planned. He goes out on a hunt with an acquaintance, who has found out he’s the infamous “Vampire” murderer the police are looking for, but Simon likes his victims to volunteer. Not so his crazy pal, who suffocates and rips a poor girls neck while raping her, and literally sickens Simon, which is a pity in a way (obviously not the rape), as this was the only horror action we get to see.

This film dragged on a bit and was simply too long in my opinion, but as previously mentioned, it was all done by Shunji Iwai. Directors are well known for wanting to keep in as much as possible, and Vampire is no exception. The title is also misleading because while we do indeed see vampiric behaviour, it’s only performed a couple of times by human vampire wannabes, not actual vampires, which, lets face it, is the only reason to watch a movie with this title. If you have lots of patience and like your Japanese movies, then you might actually enjoy this flick. It has a really decent cast but they all have rather small “prop” parts, so never really get warmed up, and having “Hunny Bunny” from Pulp Fiction fame play the mother was a bit of a wasted opporchancity because Amanda Plummer is a fine actor indeed.