There is elegance when it comes to vampires and their depiction in our culture. They are sultry, elusive, and downright cool. They have the ability to whip you off your feet and suck your blood while still making it seem romantic and mysterious. In order to capture the vampire, there is no better form of horror film than the gothic approach. Interview with the Vampire is an example of the atmosphere necessary for a good gothic horror film, but it also lacks many crucial elements.
Interview with the Vampire is an odyssey that is much more about the feeling left with you after the film than any particular story line. The story begins with a reporter (Christian Slater) interviewing Louis de Pointe du Lac (Brad Pitt). He tells his life story of becoming a vampire and the ultimate feeling of emptiness that pervasively haunts him. He also shares his experiences with Lestat de Lioncourt (Tom Cruise), the vampire that gave Louis the ‘Dark Gift’. While Louis and Lestat live their lives together, they are two very different vampires. This results in a third edition to the family, Claudia (Kirstin Dunst).
First off, look at the star studded cast. Eventually another character, Armand (Antonio Banderas) is thrown into the mix. I don’t have any personal qualms with star after star in a film (unless it's an ensemble cast), but were these characters really cast appropriately? What you're telling me is Tom Cruise is a French vampire? Brad Pitt is a Creole? It took awhile to get used to these stars in their assigned roles and I think that this provided some unintentional comedy to certain situations.
Besides a little touch of comedy, there is also a strong dramatic flair to this film. It is over the top, which will immediately turn some people off. It is an opera of a movie and unless you can understand the beauty of it all, this film may be lost on you. The constant drama and farce of it all seems to take away from one of the most important aspects of a great gothic horror, which is subtly. This film could have been more thought-provoking than it actually was which may leave many viewers wanting more.
What this film does wonderfully is provide a unique atmosphere and setting that allows for great storytelling. The film is magical in its costume designs and sets. Visually, it is fun and breathtaking. All of the visual stimulation helps to erase issues with casting and comedy. Being a horror film, we as viewers expect it to be scary on some level. This film isn’t pop out scary nor is it gruesome or disturbing. Instead it attempts to stroke at our heartstrings in a way that makes us feel just like Louie does - empty and alone. Not everyone will go for this brand of horror, especially youngsters that are just looking for flash and gore.
There are many issues with Interview with the Vampire, but the movie was downright entertaining. Was it the greatest gothic horror film of all time? No, not even close, but it was a wonderful ride and intellectual at the same time. Horror island is receiving a vampire that has a flair for the dramatics, but also knows when it's time to feed the horror fans exactly what they need. This vampire isn’t Dracula, but it makes a great attempt at showing what a real vampire is like.
If you liked Interview with the Vampire, you might also like Let the Right One In, Let Me In and Cronos.