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Vampyres – Exploitation Horror That Had The Potential To Be So Much More

Vampyres movie review

Movie Rating:

Vampyres is a remake of the 1974 British cult classic gothic erotic-horror movie. This updated version of the movie ups the intensity levels with more blood, gore and sex but lacks the substance in any meaningful plot or character development.

What’s It All About?

A lesbian vampire couple roam the English countryside, luring men to their estate for orgies of sex and blood in order to satisfy their own thirst. But when a group of campers stumble into the vampires’ lair, they find themselves sucked into a vortex of savage lust and forbidden desires.

My Opinion

Vampyres is a blood-infused exploitation horror layered with the the lustful undead. This updated version of the 1974 erotic-horror cult classic has certainly raised the bar from the original while remaining faithful to the source material. We are given more gore, more blood and more lust.

In order to keep this authentic Jose Larraz, who was the mastermind behind the original, had input into the movie before his death. Victor Matellano directed and managed to keep this project inline with the source material. Matellano has certainly given us something impressive to look at on-screen with some excellent cinematography. There are some great shots that really capture this beautiful forest location. Larraz manages to create a magical atmosphere. The camera is always well placed to ensure we don’t miss any of the action. He sure knows where to point the camera and this shows with beautifully captured scenes.

The effects department need to be commended for some excellent use of practical effects thanks to veteran make up artist Colin Arthur. From blood splatters to death scenes, wounds to flesh mutilation, we are treated to some ultra realistic and horrific visuals. There area lot of effects throughout the movie and it is all to a very high standard.

This movie does a great job of making use of jump scares. Throughout the movie I did find myself jumping as the tension levels are built and I definitely felt uneasiness at times. The shock-factor also plays a big part in the overall film. Some of the film is pretty shocking, from the events that unfold on-screen. I found parts of the film quite disturbing and definitely not for the faint-of-heart. However I thought that the film did rely on this too much and it didn’t need to. It had a good story crying to get out.

As for the story, this is where I feel the movie is at its weakest. The lack of character development really lowered the shock value. If the audience had more investment in the characters, when they encountered the vampires we would have had more of a reaction to it. Unfortunately we did not have that attachment so the impact was not as powerful. Parts of the story I would have loved to explore further, such as the background of Ted or the relevance of the book that Harriet discovers in the forest. Exploitation film is always going to be about shock value with emphasis on nudity, gore, violence, sex and the like, but I just wanted to have more meat to the bones of the plot to give so I could care more about the characters.

However what I was really surprised with was the ending. We are given this story that is rather thin on the ground and stumbles along until the final few minutes then we get this surprisingly powerful and rewarding conclusion. The final ten minutes were by far my favorite in the entire film. The ending shows that these characters do have a rich history and a more complex background but I felt like we never got to explore them fully. After being very pleased by the final scenes I was left feeling “What could have been” with this movie. I think there is a fantastic story somewhere in here.

Vampyres movie review

Notable Cast

Many of the characters in this film have little character development so I felt it was hard to really get behind them.

Verónica Polo played Harriet. The character of Harriet is a ‘by the numbers’ staple of the horror genre. She is the character who knows something is lurking in the forest but still decides to go out in the middle of the night alone to explore. I don’t want to say anything bad about Verónica as she plays the part well and does everything she needs to do, even possessing a very effective “Scream” but unfortunately she is not given that much to work with. She comes into her own in the final third and impresses.

Marta Flich and Almudena León play the pair of lesbian vampires. This pair could have been so much more but are let down by the story. I wanted to know more about them but apart from the sex scenes and the killing we don’t get much else. They both did what they needed to do, and they did it very well, but again these are characters that could have had a lot more development.

Christian Stamm played Ted. Ted was a very interesting character, although he remains pretty mysterious throughout the whole of the movie. The final scenes do make his character even more interesting but unfortunately we didn’t get to explore who he was further. Christian did a fine job of this character and really brought the best out of him. I am sure he would have been more than capable of getting much more out of the character if he was given the opportunity.

The Verdict

I really feel that this movie had the potential for a great story but instead the main focus was on exploitation horror. Rather than developing the story, the movie favors the gore, nudity and sex. We are given some great cinematography and fantastic practical effects that look great on-screen. The final third of the movie does improve but it is too little too late.

There is no doubt in my mind that this movie has an audience out there and will do well as a minor cult classic with a niche market but I think Vampyres had the potential to be a lot more.

Movie Rating:

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A 31 year old movie addict. Paying the price for a miss-spent youth of movies and popcorn. DVD collector and avid fan of 80's action movies. Lover of cider and pizza!