Director: Catherine Taylor.
Writer: Julianne White.
Vicious Circle Films will be releasing director Catherine Taylor’s first picture, Temptation, to North American audiences June 29th and this Black Tower and Co-Operative Film production offers a fresh take on the vampire, horror genre. Also, this London shot film offers beautiful cinematography, while offering a uniquely feminine view of vampires, their powers, and their ability to blend in with London’s nite life.
The film follows central character Isabel (Caroline Haines) after a nite of partying and in to the hands of a recently released serial rapist. Isabel’s already bad day has already involved seeing her boyfriend cheating on her with another women and a brutal rape in a dark alley adds a sour note to a nite of socializing and excessive drinking with friends. However, fortunately, or unfortunately, an ancient vampiress intervenes in Isabel’s possible demise by killing the attacker with a puncture wound to the carotid artery via high heel. Now, this young victim has fourty-eight hours to decide if she will become a vampiress for all time, or end her own life before the bloodlust inside takes hold.
Temptation is an independent film with an eye for nighttime photography and a knack for both storytelling and casting the most beautiful women as stalkers and killers. Julianne White’s penchant for writing a morally tense thriller is shown early, with action and interaction between the characters keeping the pacing moving ever onward. There is little time to feel bored during the show nor to think too deeply about the story unfolding. Instead, the visuals hold the attention, while the interesting story involving Isabel’s transition to the undead develops.
Taylor has a natural ability to add in sensuality in to the picture and while the film almost drifts in to the soft core porn genre of filmmaking the sexuality is used primarily for revenge and enticing local, drunk males for a bite in the park. However, a critique can be made of either White’s writing or Taylor’s control of the action, as the film has an almost complete absence of strong male characters. There is the emo, younger version of Robert Smith (The Cure) who looks far too pretty in makeup and hair dye to be heterosexual, the drunk stumbling horn-dogs who become easy prey for the female vampires, and the one-step behind, dumbfounded detectives, but no likeable, or well-rounded male characters to counter, or balance out the many powerful female characters in the film. A minor flaw is overcome by the charisma of Haines as Isabel and the unconventional use of the vampire tales of old who struggle to survive in London’s underground.
Temptation is a filmmaking stepping stone for both Haines and Taylor, with future projects already secured (Bitter Sweet, The Drowners). Those looking for an unusual, dark take on vampires and their difficulties in living within a heavily policed London are sure to enjoy this seductive take on Bram Stoker’s characters. Visit the Vicious Circle Film website for more info’ on this feature, or the many other fan sites below.
Writing/story/plot: 8 (intelligent writing, nice structure and framing, but some characterizations in future films need more attention).
Setting/realism/authenticity: 7.5 (authentic, realistic, lots of great nite shots of a well lit London, the cinematography is simply beautiful).
Social message/relationships/interaction: 6 (not sure if there is a deeper meaning here outside of men in the film are raping bastards, lots of conflict, minor plot lines).
Overall: 7.15 cringing faces out of 10 (well done Taylor and the rest of the cast and crew).