Following a vampire couple quietly living in the city, Miriam is a vampire from ancient Egyptian times, while her sired partner John has discovered his own immortality has begun to wane. With his age rapidly accelerating he looks for help from a scientist who is trying to prevent rapid aging diseases.
This is the first film made by the late Tony Scott and it certainly stands out from what he became famous for; it is a quiet, atmospheric, sexualised and haunted experience that’s focused on the vampire’s turmoil.
David Bowie plays vampire John Blaylock and he makes for a good vampire. The opening act is a 1980’s punk infused montage of the two vampires feeding, yet the rest of the film does not return to this sort of setting. The film’s most impressive element has to be John’s degradation; the make-up work (or “make up illusion” as the credits state) is very cool, for most of the second act we see Bowie rapidly age and it still looks impressive today!
Susan Sarandon plays the scientist Sarah Roberts, and is probably the best performance out of all of them, although her involvement at first is strenuous as best. The film relies on the audience knowing what the classic vampire lore is, and tries to spin in some science elements which sadly doesn’t lead anywhere. Instead this is a vehicle to lead Sarah into the seductive arms of Miriam (Catherine Deneuve).
It provides everything a mature vampire film should, but is surprisingly atmospheric and I found John’s rapid aging fascinating. The ending however was out-of-the-blue and tonally jarring with the rest of the film, as nightmarish and effective as it was, and audiences might find it quite slow.