Byzantium is the kind of horror movie I prefer these days than your average blood n’ guts slasher/monster/killer feature. By that I mean that it is smart, it is subtle, and often-times dressed as something different. In this case, you could almost call this film a family drama. It is wonderfully acted and beautifully shot and perfectly paced out so your attention never wavers. The script is quiet with little bursts of violence whether physical or emotional to carry it along.
And it is a family drama, or a sort, as mentioned before about the relationship between a mother and daughter, their trials and tribulations as they make their way through the years. But this is a horror movie, specifically about vampires though that is not the horror within. The horror aspect comes from the situations that the mother and daughter find themselves in, and what happens to them to get to the present point in the movie. And that is why the movie is smarter than most. The film doesn’t go the obvious route of vampire on human violence and why it is so scary and bad. The experiences of the two women are much more horrific than just a little spilt blood.
The other really nice thing about this film is the new take on vampirism that we are introduced to. It is hard to find anybody that has something original to say about the subject, yet Moira Buffini finds a way to do so and makes it wholly interesting. I wish more writers would explore new ways to do things with established genres then just rehashing what has come before. Tried and true is great sometimes, but the shiny and new can also be great, and sometimes even better.
A sequel could easily be made and yet to do so might ruin this film as the small gem that it is. The story was told in its’ entirety, but it also leaves you wanting more which is quality filmmaking in my book. Definitely a film that deserves to be watched.
4.5 out of 5