Directed By: Aaron Moorehead & Justin Benson
Written By: Justin Benson
Cinematography By: Aaron Moorehead
Editor: Aaron Moorhead, Justin Benson & Michael Felker
Cast: Lou Taylor Pucci, Nadia Hilker, Jeremy Gardner, Vanessa Bednar, Shane Brady
A young man in a personal tailspin flees the US to Italy, where he sparks up a romance with a woman harboring a dark, primordial secret. Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead claim they wrote the film as a counterpoint to Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles in that it is about a creature who actually enjoys its strange condition.
The film is a foreign romantic fantasy with supernatural elements. That depends more on the conversation to reveal character, elements, and story. rather than just visuals. So that you notice it’s BEFORE SUNRISE influence early. While still having more genre elements.
It is more talkative then Action-oriented, Essentially a dark romantic fantasy
The film starts off dramatically. That makes you wonder where it is exactly going. Though it figures out a nice convenient way to get the main character overseas, we get to know all about him. So like him throughout we wonder about this mysterious femme fatale. Wondering his backstory would be too much mystery.
So the film introduced us to him early. To continuously stay on his side. Allowing us to be more in his shoes and probably knowing what he will do. Rather than continuously questioning his morals and character. Though disappointingly as what gets him to go. Is more of a threat, but never truly explored it come back to.
I am not going to lie. While the film is good what makes it memorable is the lead actress Nadia Hilker who while watching you believe a new big-screen goddess is being introduced.
The film works like the leading character. We get excited once the lead actress Nadia Hilker is on screen and after we are introduced to her. The anticipation until she appears on screen again becomes deafening.
Though after getting to know her. We realize that something is up. Not that the film doesn’t heavily hint at it half the time. Yet we are still fascinated by her.
Like her nature of letting him in and then abandoning him physically and emotionally. Never truly explaining what she is so open to interpretation. She is so stunning that we fully understand his addiction to her and acceptance of her behavior continuously. Sometimes even wishing the film was more all about her and her character’s way of life.
At first, it doesn’t seem like it will, but the film ends up being full of energy and mystery. That starts more once he travels overseas. As he discovers her. Just as when he romances her. we both discover the town revealing both beauties.
Though it feels like a film more of youth than anything. Just as with any romantic love story. The film takes it’s time to set up. Still rather quick allowing for real circumstances
Happy to see Lou Taylor up on the big screen in a lead. He always seems more like a character actor. Who is good looking in a thoroughly modern way. Finally getting a role that he is effective in and makes a mark. He feels real here.
Though it does seem like some effort at times. Go into making him seem cooler, sensitive, and tough to a degree. Though also pretty average in certain ways.
The filmmakers choose to use their locations strongly as we are constantly in picturesque beautiful locations. That makes the smaller scale story feel like that as we are thrown in what feels like epic waters.
The camerawork sometimes positions itself. So that we are right there but also a voyeur. Reminding us. Though we are close. We are watching a story.
The film has a few too many zooms and close-ups of scenery, landscapes, and coasts. In between scenes At times. That is the result of us by drones to film those segments. These shots when done more to impress and show off than anything. Maybe open up the story and land.
The special effects are impressive and are truly explored in one transformation scene, fully.
Even if not, up to a certain point the film seems like a look at love and modern relationships.
It’s obvious on it’s initial influences and thankfully gets more intriguing as it goes along. Like it really wants to separate itself from other indies. Yet feels a little gimmicky to please two masters or two different frames of thought. Yet later to tease the audience with an explanation gives a confusing technical/biological explanation that gorges it a certain context. Yet really only sets up an either/or end.
By the end, the film has a more twilight zone type set-up or seems headed for one. Even if those last moments are precious.