He Longs For the… – Kiss of the Damned (2012)

Kiss of the Damned (2012)
Written and directed by Xan Cassavetes, Kiss of the Damned is a vampire film that is a little more style over substance. That is not to say that there is nothing to the film, there is, but it is nothing that we have not seen before. For those looking for originality, this is not the film for you but, if you are simply looking for a decent movie about those creatures of the night that need blood to live, then this film will do in a pinch. It is slickly made, which goes back to that point about style, and it is quite atmospheric at times with some really great shots from Cassavetes, but with a fairly average story to back it up that gives you a feeling of déjà vu at some points.  There are also moments where the music drowns out the dialogue and overall, like any film, it has its strengths and it has its weaknesses.

Kiss-of-the-DamnedThankfully Cassavetes managed to assemble a pretty good cast around him including Milo Ventimiglia, Michael Rappaport, Roxane Mesquida and Josephine de La Baume as the film’s leading lady, Djuna. Djuna is a lonely woman, who feeds when she needs to and enjoys watching classic films, yet when she meets Paolo, something happens and her heart opens up as it never has before. For Paolo, he has never seen anyone as beautiful as Djuna and while he does not believe in vampires, he is soon made a believer and then a vampire himself. The two are about to live as idyllic a life as possible until Djuna’s sister Mimi shows up and with her, a trail of bodies, putting their entire existence at risk.

kiss-of-the-damned-review-2For a horror film, it is not very frightening, even for those new to the genre. There is a little blood here and there, but the film relies more on mood and atmosphere than anything else to bring that horror, what little there is, across to the viewer. More than anything else, the film is a drama, detailing the lives of these otherworldly beings and the rivalry between the two sisters. Mimi is only out to cause trouble and Djuna cannot stand it and so during the moviethere is actually a bit of suspense and tension that makes itself known as you never know just what it is that Mimi is going to do next. The film even manages to inject some eroticism into the story and does so almost from the first and without any nudity which is actually quite surprising. So despite the slow-ish pace that the film moves along at, it draws you in with its mystery and the performances from the cast.

There was a moment in the film where it seemed like it was going to head somewhere interesting and where it almost seemed like it was going to end up being a bigger and better picture than it started off as, but that hope was quickly extinguished and the film would continue on its original path, which in the end, was still fairly decent. Still, despite the few flaws that the picture might have, it was a good film. Not great, but it was good and though it may not have been the best vampire film of all time either, Cassavetes did a fine job in telling the story he wanted to tell.

3 out of 5

5 replies »

  1. I was going to watch this but it seemed like it would just be Peter Petrelli eye acting the entire time so I’ve never pulled the trigger….

    Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve seen him in a couple of other things… in one he plays a doctor – the name of the movie escapes me and it’s pretty shitty – the other is The Divide which is a pretty good movie but he really goes insane in that one.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Good review. You made some good points. You’re right, the visuals and atmosphere were best parts. The poster totally got my attention. It looked like old 70s novel art. Awesome. I agree, the movie mediocre but it made me sit up and take notice of this director. I’m looking forward to his next film.

    For more artsy thriller vampire stuff check out Only Lovers Left Alive with Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska… before Crimson Peak hits the cinema. I really liked it. Jim Jarmusch directs. I’m thinking it might be your cup of tea as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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