Best vampire films of 2010-2014: beyond Twilight

Only lovers left alive

Last week Jim Jarmusch’ much anticipated 2014 vampire film Ony Lovers Left Alive finally saw its release. And it sure wasn’t a disappointment, making it one of the few actually good vampire films within the genre. In his characteristic poetic and deadpan comical style Jarmusch explored the everlasting love of vampires Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton (mesmerizing as always), ironically named Adam and Eve. The film proved beautifully why ‘vampire flicks’ and ‘quality cinema’ do not necessarily exclude one another. Of course the term ‘quality cinema’ is debatable. The point is; vampire cinema definitely had more to offer than Twilight the last few years. Not all of these films were mind-blowing, especially script wise some of them had their shortcomings. But if a great vampire film needs anything, it’s aesthetics.  Sensuous and seductive bloodsuckers with skins pale as a full moon. Shot like they’re in a fragrance commercial. Well, judge for yourself.  In this article we look forward to the best new vampire films of 2014 and, give a short overview of the 2010’s vampire cinema highlights so far. From typically American horror films, to foreign vampire films (there is more than just the Swedish Let the Right one in (2008)):

Best vampire genre films 2010-2013

Here are listed the best vampire films of the 2010′s up to 2013 in a chronological order. Below you can find the new vampire films of 2014.

Wir Sind die Nacht (2010)

Directed by Dennis Gansel

Starring Karoline Herfurth, Nina Hoss and Jennifer Ulrich

recent German vampire horror film

German director Dennis Gansel made a daring choice by directing this teenage vampire flick after receiving much critical acclaim for Die Welle (2008), a film about a well-known psychological experiment concerning peer pressure and its relation to fascism. Wir Sind die Nacht was box-office failure in Germany, but was received pretty well by critics internationally. The story isn’t too much new; a young vampire girl falls in a love with a police officer who investigates a murder case she is involved with. What will she choose, everlasting life or love? Stylistically however, there’s lots to enjoy. It’s beautifully shot and driven by a nice soundtrack. Not as emotionally challenging as Die Welle, but definitely worth a shot.

Midnight Son (2011)

Directed by Scott Leberecht

Starring Zak Kilberg, Larry Cedar and Maya Parish

Midnight Son

A fresh, exceptional piece of work, Midnight Son proves a vampire film can still be original. This plot-driven film doesn’t follow the typical genre characteristics. Antagonist Jakob suffers from a rare skin disorder which forces him to stay indoors during the day. Things start to change rapidly when he falls in love with Mary, a young cocaine addict. As she’s struggling with her addiction, Jakob’s situation worsens, and becomes obsessed by blood. Merely a film about addiction (blood/cocaine) than about vampirism in the traditional sense of the word, Midnight Son offers something new on the horizon.

Kiss of the Damned (2012)

Directed by Xan Cassavetes

Starring Milo Ventimiglia, Joséphine de la Baume and Roxanne Mesquida

A vampire flick by the daughter of the eighties indie legend Cassavetes

Breathtakingly handsome actors delivering their lines like they’re reading it from an autocue; this one is all about aesthetics. The plot (screenwriter falls in love with a beautiful vamp, gets bitten, after which they seem to live happily forever after until her jealous, malicious sister turns up) is poor, but still the movie somehow works. It clearly pays homage to 1970’s B horror films and the acting seems to be part of that too. There are stylish shots, sex scenes that come close to exploitation and a thrilling soundtrack. A highly entertaining piece of pastiche directed by Xan Cassavetes, daughter of America’s independent film pioneer John Cassavetes.

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Byzantium (2013)

Directed by Neil Jordan

Starring Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Arterton and Sam Riley

A terrific British vampire genre film set at the English coast

Neil Jordan isn’t exactly new to directing vampire films. Earlier he directed the classic Interview with a Vampire (1994), which revitalized the genre. With Byzantium he’s going back to the well. It tells the gripping story of Eleanor and Clara, a mother and daughter struggling to live a life as ordinary as possible. When the two settle in a picturesque English coastal town, both encounter their own problems. Clara falls in love with a terminally ill boy, what makes her once again question the advantages of immortality, while Eleanor is being haunted by her tragic past. A must-see stylish British vampire film which emphasizes the sadness of immortality, rather than being a traditional horror movie.

Upcoming: anticipated vampire films in 2014

Vampire stories. It seems to be an inexhaustible source of inspiration. Both for independent filmmakers and big studios. And since almost every best-selling young adult novel nowadays is about vampires or other mystical creatures, Hollywood will probably try to squeeze the hype out until the very last sour drop by making more tedious adaptations. Let’s take a quick look what to expect of new vampire cinema 2014:

A Girl Walks Alone at Night (2014)

Released at the Sundance Filmfestival in 2014 and executively produced by Elijah Wood, this auspicious debut film by U.S. based Iranian director Ana Lily Amirpour creates an imaginary Iranian underworld in which a romantic vampire tale takes place. The reviews so far look promising as it is being described as a sly and beautiful vampire flick that combines elements of New Iranian Cinema and the vampire noir-genre.  It’s tagline alone ‘The First Iranian Vampire Western’ is more than enough reason to believe this Persian vampire film is a great contribution to 2014′s must-see vampire cinema.

What we do in the Shadows (2014)

A new vampire comedy to lighten up the mood

This is that other new vampire film that received major attention at Sundance in 2014, and I can understand why. To lighten up the mood, it might be nice to have one film on my list which does not rely on sensual and slick vampires, but that plays with the genre in a humorous way. There have been more vampire comedies, like the Twilight parodies, but those where almost as bad as the original films. This New-Zealand film, critics claim, is actually really funny. We will see for ourselves when we get our hands on it, but it is looking promising. If you are looking for more vampire themed films that have a humorous edge you should also check out the great South-Korean vampire film Thirst (2009) by Chan-wook Park (Stoker, 2013).

Blood Kiss (2014)

Not much is known of this project yet, as it is still in preproduction. The story, which is set in Golden Age Hollywood, revolves around a detective trying to solve murders committed by vampires. Coined a ‘vampire noir’, which sounds interesting. Sunset Boulevard meets Twilight?

The Curse of Styria (2014)

Still in development, but the trailer sure looks promising, as does the stated summary on the official website:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5nCn0H13yM

‘In 1989, an alienated 16 year-old, Lara Hill accompanies her art historian father to an abandoned castle across the Iron Curtain. From a car crash outside of the castle, emerges the beautiful and enigmatic Carmilla. Lara secrets her away and the two are drawn into an intoxicating relationship. But when Carmilla mysteriously disappears, Lara’s psychic wounds erupt into a living nightmare that consumes the entire town of Styria’.

Vampires and communism, we haven’t seen that yet. Looking forward to that.

Harker (2014)

Very little to say about this one. Russel Crowe is rumored to play the lead in this 1786th Bram Stoker’s Dracula spin-of.  This time, Jonathan Harker is a Scotland Yard detective, determined to capture the malicious count Dracula. Well, let’s see and wait. Haven’t seen a proper Russel Crowe movie in ages. Eli Roth is supposed to be involved as well.


 

Twenty-eight year old Dutch male.

1 Comment

  • Reply September 2, 2014

    Skeh

    You have the description of Wir Sind Die Nacht completely wrong, you make it sound like she will become a human again, if she decides to choose the love or something like that, even though, that part of the film has nothing to do with her thoughts about vampirism.

    Also, your description about Midnight Son is very superficial, (maybe a spoiler, warning) you didn’t notice it shows the gradual transformation of normal person into a monster, what a vampire is.

    I knew Byzantium, but I haven’t watched it, yet, hopefully, I’ll do it soon. Thanks for the other suggestions.

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