Movies / Movie Reviews

Perfect Creature at the Fantasia Film Festival


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By Al Kratina
Jul 6, 2007 - 18:13

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Perfect Creature

2007, New Zealand

Starring: Dougray Scott, Saffron Burrows, Leo Gregory, Scott Willis

Directed by: Glenn Standring

Written by: Glenn Standring

Producer: Michael Cowan, Russel Fischer, Jason Piette, Tim Sanders, Haneet Vaswani

Genre: Horror

Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Rating: Rated R for violence and gore, and for language.

Running Time: 88 minutes

Website: http://www.perfect-creature.com/

 

Remember when vampires were scary? Neither do I, really. A combination of Anne Rice and successively more opulent Bram Stoker adaptations have transformed pop-culture vampires from the horrific undead monsters of myth to dandies and metrosexuals who are more likely to carry a silk handkerchief and a walking stick than a virulent bloodsucking plague. The whole top hat and cloak thing is not quite as terrifying nowadays as it may have been in Victorian England; I want to be scared of dying, not of losing first place in the Comic Con Masquerade. But at the very least, the guy dressed like Little Lord Fauntleroy in Interview With The Vampire ate people. The vampires in Perfect Creature, which had its Canadian Premiere at the Fantasia Film Festival last evening, do not. In an alternate version of 1960s Earth, vampires have co-existed peacefully with humans for hundreds of years, acting as their protectors and guardians, and forming a religious organization known as the Brotherhood. This, to say the least, is not terrifying. It’s not even very interesting. It’s just inverting a pre-existing notion and expecting that novelty to carry the film, like making a movie about the Empire State building being scaled by Paddington Bear, who then has tea and a light lunch with Fay Wray before going home to watch re-runs of Friends.


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Of course, there is a twist, in which one of the vampires gets sick and goes rogue, hunting humans and spreading a new form of infection. But the bad guy’s name is Edgar, so how scary can he be? In the terrifying name hierarchy, there must be names lower than Edgar, but aside from Percival and possibly Roderick, I can’t think of any offhand. There’s really no menace in the film, no edge to it, to really distinguish it from any other police procedural thriller aside from the fact that some of the protagonists have dental prosthetics. Starring Dougray Scott as a vampire priest, and Saffron Burrows as a human police officer, the movie is a lot talkier than most films of the fantastic. And worse, the action scenes are never punchy enough to stand out by comparison, with the greatest tension in the film coming from the difficulty in trying not to use the word “toothless” to describe it in a film review. Yes, there are some interesting concepts involved, like the obvious comparison of the Catholic Church to a horde of potentially parasitic monsters, but even that juicy parable isn’t fully explored. The setting of the film, with strange steam-powered technology, is also occasionally intriguing, sort of like if Alan Moore had done the set design for Sky Captain and the World Of Tomorrow, but that ambitious idea is somewhat hampered by the budgetary constraints. And while the two leads turn in strong performances, many of the actors in the smaller roles fail to compare. All in all, while there are some good ideas, they get lost in a lot of nothing.

 

Perfect Creature screening was hosted by director/screenwriter Glenn Standring, and was preceded by director Jonathan Budine’s Take Out, a short, simple film that consists of 4 minutes and an amusing punchline.

Rating: 5 on 10

alkratina@comicbookbin.com

 


Last Updated: Nov 2, 2014 - 13:24
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