Vampir

Vampir – a disappointingly toothless mess

CINERAMA FILM ONLINE

Vampir was released in the UK and US on May 16th.


Vampires have had a hold on cinema for over a hundred years now. From Murnau’s original nightmare to the modern mishap of Morbius, the bloodsucking fiends have brought a beautiful balance of seductive class and animal savagery to the silver screen. However, for every great picture, there are at least thirty terrible ones. That’s the initial worry going into Branko Tomovic’s Vampir, a film that oddly comes close to sharing its title with Dreyer’s seminal Vampyr. That’s about the kindest comparison that can be made here, sadly.

From the outset, this feels like a student production with flat lighting and terrible expository dialogue in spades. Within the first ten minutes, a viewer could probably just imagine what’s to come from a lifetime of exposure to vampire mythology, and there’s no subversion or commentary to be found here. Its Serbian setting promises a different perspective yet delivers nothing new. It barely feels like it’s set explicitly in Serbia, so nondescript is the setting.


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Cheap sideshow attempts at spookiness replace any such detail. Flickering lights and doors slamming shut seem to cause more annoyance to our hero than unrest. There’s an evident creative clash between wanting to make a Conjuring style ghost story versus engaging with vampires in any meaningful way, and the result is a half-baked haunting. Here Vampir misunderstands the inherent tragedy of the vampire. After all, though they take a human form, they are the eternal outsider from society, trapped in the veil of night where others walk in the sun. Even the most esteemed such as Dracula himself may dress to the nines and hold high society in high regard, but they can never become part of it.


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Vampir features a man coming to a small town, his Serbian heritage leading him there from London. Yet there’s never any mileage or poignancy from his position as a newcomer, only vague awkwardness as the protagonist walks to various buildings in the village, meeting local weirdos. There’s a sense that this wanted to be Hereditary, as a strange cult manipulates the lead with some sort of supernatural chicanery in the mix, but there’s no tension to be found. Even when the plot does start to ratchet up, the next scene will reset the film back to its meandering, aimless pace.

Director and star Branco Tomovic brings a vulnerability to the role that makes his wandering slightly less torturous to watch. However, this only makes the amateur talents of his co-stars even more apparent in dialogue-heavy scenes. The dialogue is so stilted that it borders on parody, almost like the weak connective tissue in a pornographic film. Vampir is an unfortunate wasted opportunity, a chance to show a lesser represented culture’s take on iconic folklore. It’s clear Tomovic has talent, but this feature directorial debut is disappointingly toothless.

  • STAR RATING
1

Summary

Vampir is an unfortunate wasted opportunity, a chance to show a lesser represented culture’s take on iconic folklore. Its clear Tomović has talent, but this feature directorial debut is disappointingly toothless.