Vampire movies have been with cinema since its inception. Good, bad and indifferent, there have been so many over the years that you sometimes can’t even tell if the next one will be great or a total waste of time. It’s a difficult horror sub-genre to tackle because nearly every narrative avenue has been exhausted and if you don’t inject enough originality into a vampire movie then it can come across as tired and derivative.
Low budget British horror Vampires (AKA Bloodless – a much better title) is a solid entry into the vampire cannon and while it might be a little rough around the edges, it does have a strong conviction in wanting to entertain and try something a little different. Writer director Richard Johnstone’s film sees 5 couples arrive at a large stately home for a medical experience that will see those completing the trail score £20,000. However, like most horror films, they get much more than they bargained for.
The location castle location is the main star of Johnstone’s film and he uses it to the best of his ability. Some of the acting might be on the iffy side, but the director builds some impressive tension, keeping the plot creeping along until the last act reveal. The low budget is obvious but Johnstone works around this as best he can, trying to build character so that there’s some sort of emotional pay-off when the cast meet a bloody demise.
Vampires doesn’t blow the blood-sucking genre wide open with originality but it does have a few surprises over the course of its running time. The real pleasure comes from watching a low budget filmmaker attempt to get as much as possible from a good location and a meagre budget without having to resort to the bane of low budget horror, ‘found footage’.
You get a solid making-of that sheds some good insight into the production of the film.