New Zealand made vampire movie. I was going to say ‘distinctly New Zealand’, but the truth is… well, that it’s not entirely true. Sure, in a market scene we see a kuia selling eels from a barrel, and yes it’s set in a made-up country called Nuovo Zelandia. But. None of the major characters is played by a New Zealander – they’re all from the bloody UK.
Set in a grimy, runny-nosed sweat-house of a dystopian alternate past – one in which genetics/dna was discovered in the 17th century, or thereabouts, which was a lucky thing for the vampires which were discovered around the same time – instead of being feared and hunted out of existence, they were instead recognised as a simple mutation/evolution of normal humans. There’s a certain steampunkness (a grimy version, as opposed to the polished brass and oiled wood kind) about it with steam powered cars existing alongside DNA display screens and stun-gun billy-clubs.
The story is reasonably straightforward, in this universe vampires don’t eat people – non-vampires provide them with blood freely, and seem to like doing it – but then one vampire is infected by a virus that instills the desire to kill and eat people. The other vampires, and some people who happen to be in-the-know, can see that if the knowledge of this gets out, the general population will be unhappy, so they have to stop him.
It features a fair bit of distinctly average CG, and something about either the editing or film transfer process wasn’t quite right, some of the faster moving action is rendered entirely unintelligible.
Althought it misses the mark in several respects, the performances were generally pretty good, and on the whole I found it to be better than I expected. If you’re a New Zealander, you really are kind of obligated to support our fledgling film industry. So go see it.