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Interview with the Vampire

#417 - Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles
Neil Jordan, 1994

A vampire agrees to tell his centuries-long life story to a writer.

Interview with the Vampire is another one of those movies that I've seen 100% of the way through from start to finish. I started the book but never finished it, while I've watched virtually all of the film but missed the start. Now that I've had the opportunity to watch the whole thing from start to finish, I have to admit that I do still find the final product a little underwhelming. Granted, it's not without its highlights. It's almost too good watching Tom Cruise chew every possible inch of scenery as Lestat, the mischievious blonde vampire who turns suicidal widower (and eventual interviewee) Louis (Brad Pitt) into a vampire, which prompts a whole bunch of odd-couple nonsense as Louis struggles with the notion of killing and feeding on humans. Eventually, they add young orphan Claudia (Kirsten Dunst) to their company and to go on any further would definitely be taking it into spoiler territory.

While the film may have the sort of lavish production values that would suit a story spanning centuries and continents, it's melodramatic to a considerable fault. While the visuals are decent enough for the most part, the score is a major offender with its histrionics being almost enough to put me off a lot - while the old-timey harpsichord suits a lot of scenes just fine, the full-blown orchestra just sounds ridiculous in virtually every instance where it's used to indicate drama and tension. Regardless of whether or not Cruise may be miscast as Lestat, his rampant flamboyance always promises to liven things up - without him, the film starts to sag considerably regardless of the tragedies afflicting both Louis and Claudia. While Dunst does alright playing a character well beyond her years, Pitt's maudlin turn as a self-loathing vampire may have some point but in 2015 the whole "mopey vampire" thing has well and truly run its course. As a result, it's hard to truly give a damn about these characters who have been cursed with eternal life even if it's somewhat understandable. The film then relocates once again and tries to engineer a climax that doesn't feel nearly as cathartic as it thinks it's being. While there are some good moments here and there, they have been realised better in other movies. Ultimately, Interview with the Vampire may have some decent 1990s period-piece horror visuals and an amazingly against-type performance by Cruise, but the storyline is pretty underwhelming for the most part and it's not really what I want out of vampire fiction these days. At least that ending is a good one.