People at Sundance are pissed that Vampire isn’t actually about vampires. That’s not the film’s problem. You can make a movie about human losers trying to be cool like vampires, but it has to be better than Vampire.
Simon (Kevin Zegers) picks up suicidal babes on a website, Sidebycide.com, that we barely ever see (just a homepage, no actual activity.) He’s not suicidal though. He likes to drain ladies’ blood and drink it. They call him the Vampire killer, and I’m not sure he even thinks he’s a vampire. Also, blood seems to make him throw up so it doesn’t even seem to work.
So that’s interesting, vampirism appropriated by serial killers. It’s not interesting as it plays out though. There are lots of extended scenes of slow nothing going on. Maybe it’s mood but the visuals are so mundane that it’s not atmospheric. All real world settings, out in the woods or in an industrial factory, and Simon just wears a hoodie, baggie pants and glasses so he’s not very distinct.
Along the way Simon encounters some different facets of vampire or suicide obsession. He meets a vampire wannabe serial killer groupie who rapes and murders in ways that are distasteful to Simon. Simon convinces a suicidal jumper to give him her blood instead.
Simon also cares for his mother Helga (Amanda Plummer), who has Alzheimer’s. He’s made a harness with balloons to help her get around. He talks his ow high school student out of suicide, so I guess he has standards.
There are interesting moments. Simon gets caught in a suicide van, which shows he can’t always control his well planned M.O. Then a long hike through the woods is just a matter of who cares? There’s a scene with leeches which I guess is a metaphor for blood suckers. Suicide survivor Ladybird (Adelaide Clemons) is actually sweet, offering Simon her blood on a regular basis as long as he stops killing. Jellyfish (Keisha Castle-Hughes) bringing Simon a caterpillar is sweet also. These are hints of a real movie somewhere in there, but they go nowhere.
Vampire is a technical mess. Director Iwai Shunji often turns the camera on its side, so we see vertical images horizontally. Nice try, but it just looks bad. There’s also a lot of hiss on the soundtrack, so could he not even mic up the talent or at least ADR it? The familiar Japanese perspective seems to want to portray violence as elegant and beautiful, but it’s just boring.
By the time Maria (Kristen Kreuk) does ballet for Simon, just stop already. Simon’s clingy girlfriend threatens to discover his lifestyle, but he’s not even into her so what’s the conflict there? He could get caught by a real character, not an invented “girlfriend.” If you want to see a movie about non-vampires, see Vampire’s Kiss. That is some quality crazy.