Almost two decades after Interview with the Vampire, Oscar-winning filmmaker Neil Jordan (The Crying Game) once again opens the door to new bloodsuckers in Byzantium, a sensually beautiful tale that brings new blood to an ancient genre.

Gemma Arterton is far from her recent role as a prudish choir leader in A Song for Marion, when she, as the stripping bloodsucker Clara, rips the head off a rowdy customer mere nanoseconds after the title sequence has ended. Together with her equally bloodthirsty, but more restrained companion Eleanor, they seek a new life in a rundown British seaside town. But pretty soon their bloody two hundred-year-old secret starts to bubble up to the surface.

Byzantium blends poetically beautiful images with eerie bloodshed in a dark story that reminds far more of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s sad suburban vampires than of Twilight’s sparkly akin and makes one understand why this alluring genre is as immortal as its biting characters.

Text: Jacob Åsell

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