Byzantium – United Kingdom/Ireland – Neil Jordan

This is a vampire movie and I figured to broaden my experience of horror films I should get beyond Bella Lugosi and “I don’t drink……wine”. So I swallowed my aversion to Anne Rice and went to see this new film by Neil Jordan(Interview with a Vampire and The Company of Wolves among others). I was attracted because he also did Michael Collins which was amazing and not a horror film at all. Disappointed I was. It was so booorrrrriinng right up until the end when suddenly there was action and resolution but until then it was just gothic in the worst sense of the word. While sitting with another TIFF veteran waiting for my next film we got chatting about what movies were good and bad this year and I mentioned how much I was unhappy with Byzantium. He was surprised, had seen it with me as it turns out and thought it was wonderful. I guess you have to like vampires. I should note that this guy sees five movies a day and will see between 40 and 50 movies this week. I am not sure he isn’t confusing Byzantium with something else at that rate but who am I to judge. Let’s just say that if you like vampires you will likely enjoy this and if you don’t stay away. It is not a great film to introduce you to the horror genre.

The director was there for a Q and A afterwards and that was somewhat interesting but the movie is based on a book and part of the story was about how people became vampires. In the book they were taken off to Turkey and bitten by a giant bird but they didn’t have the funding for this so instead they used this isolated little island of the west coast of Ireland (The director is Irish afterall). At any rate this saved them big bucks and maybe that says something about the movie overall.


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