Vampires have had a torrid time in movies over the past few years. With no films managing to emulate the success of classic movies from Near Dark to Only Lovers Left Alive. The vampire finding itself relegated to the sidelines of modern horror in favour of zombies, demons and serial killers. Therefore, Logan Thomas’ new feature ‘There’s No Such Thing as Vampires‘ offered a glimmer of hope. By once more elevating the vampire to its rightful place at the heart of horror. And the resulting film occasionally comes close to achieving this exciting rebirth. With the cloak covered ancient hunter, neon rich colour and synthesised beats of 80s horror, all providing moments of inspired direction. However, this promise is quickly railroaded by a screenplay bogged down in paying homage to other movies, rather than finding its own unique voice.
Our story opens with Josh (Josh Plasse), running shirtless through the night, a streak of blood running down his shoulder. Fear written in his eyes, as he seeks to escape from a mysterious entity hunting him down. His first sanctuary is a small cinema where the classic Nosferatu is showing, his escape hampered by the rows of popcorn-munching punters.
On escaping the cinema, Josh runs into Ariel (Emma Holzer) on the highway. The hunted and haunted Josh hijacking Ariel’s car as he evades a vehicle now hunting him down. The high octane chase that ensues ripped straight from the Duel playbook. However, interestingly it’s here where Logan Thomas’ film feels its strongest; as the stalking presence of an unknown assailant dovetails with the dark isolation of rural America. However, unfortunately, the road movie horror comes to an abrupt end, as Ariel takes Josh to her friend’s house for protection. Her love for the mysterious boy who hijacked her car and put her in mortal danger now clear; the film’s screenplay conveniently circumnavigating the need to delve more deeply into the characters and their emerging attraction.
As the movie progresses through a lacklustre second act, interest wains, the mash-up of horror classics, becoming tedious. And despite a third act, where interest is pulled back from the brink of collapse, the resulting film struggles to identify its voice and direction. However, despite this, there is enough to keep the viewer mildly engaged throughout, even when the screenplay stumbles. With performances, particularly from Josh Plasse, offering a glimmer of hope through a mist of competing ideas.
There’s No Such Thing as Vampires, falls into the trap of many horrors, by paying homage to previous work over and above the need to create something new. Leading to a stylistically rich vampire movie that lacks any discernable bite. Therefore, I guess we are all going to have to wait a bit longer for the vampire to retake its crown at the heart of modern horror.
Director: Logan Thomas