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Byzantium (2012)

  Tags: based on play, Bradley James, Byzantium, Caleb Landry Jones, Danny Mays, Gemma Arterton, Jonny Lee Miller, Moira Buffini, Neil Jordan, Number 9 Films, Sam Riley, Saoirse Ronan, Tom Hollander, vampire

Your rating: None Average: 8 (3 votes)
Reviewer Rating: 
7

byzantiumDVD.jpg
Rating #: 
7/10
Director: 
Neil Jordan
Runtime: 
118 minutes
Cast: 
Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Arterton, Caleb Landry Jones, Danny Mays, Bradley James, Sam Riley, Jonny Lee Miller, Tom Hollander


After a lengthy hiatus from horror, director Neil Jordan (Interview with the Vampire) returns to the genre with Byzantium--an unconventional and poignant tale of a mother-daughter vampire duo who've been on the run for hundreds of years from a secret vampire organization known as "The Brotherhood." While the genre is starting to finally heal from what Twilight did to the modern vampire sub-genre, the beautifully shot Byzantium attempts to take some of the lore we already know and change a few things along the way. Although fangs aren't seen anywhere in the film, the bloodsuckers here are still very dangerous. This is especially apparent when we get a pretty graphic decapitation scene within the first 10 minutes.

Being an unconventional film, it focuses more on the struggle and obstacles the two young woman face as vampires in this modern world. All while attempting to remain hidden from the deadly Brotherhood. As the flick plays out we get glimpses of who these people were before they became creatures of the night, eventually giving us enough back-story to really feel for them as characters. As for the vamps themselves, not only do they not have fangs, but they also can walk in the sun. The only similarities from the lore we already know is they're unable to enter a home without an invitation, have to drink blood, and are eternal. Since they aren't your typical vampires, in order to drink blood their thumbnail grows to become incredibly sharp, enabling them to easily pierce thier prey like a dagger.

I'm sure many may not be keen on such a different take on vampires, but I find it refreshing and creative, especially during a time when the genre seems almost out of new ideas. Though, I'm sure if it weren't for Neil Jordan's masterful directing that it could have been an entirely different film all together. I suppose the only issue I have with the movie is more like minor gripe about how it maybe could've used more action/violence in the mid-mark. Either way, this is a pretty solid entry into the vampire sub-genre.

Byzantium is an unconventional and beautiful vampire tale that proves there's still a little creativity and untold stories left in the genre. Although more of a character-driven piece, thanks to the well developed story and characters, along with the great directing from Neil Jordan, this is probably one of the better vampire flicks I've seen in recent years. Approach this with an open mind and you may come out pleased, like I was.

Posted on October 30, 2013 - 6:01pm | FrighT MasteR

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