Interview With The Vampire

1994, Movie, R, 122 mins

Review

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This darkly effective horror drama holds plenty of interest, even for those who find Anne Rice's gothic cult novels unreadable.

In contemporary San Francisco, young interviewer Daniel Malloy (Christian Slater) is approached by Louis (Brad Pitt), who claims to be a vampire and tells Daniel his story. A flashback to late 18th-century Louisiana shows Louis as a 24-year-old plantation owner who sinks into a depression after the deaths of his wife and child. He meets the roguish vampire Lestat (Tom Cruise), who grants him eternal life in death. But while Lestat delights in draining his youthful victims, Louis cannot bring himself to do murder and subsists on animals. When he breaks down and attacks a young girl, Claudia (Kirsten Dunst), Lestat brings her back to life, and she becomes Louis's close companion.

Nearly two decades after the publication of Anne Rice's novel, the news that Interview With the Vampire was finally coming to the screen no doubt warmed the hearts of Rice's fans. Yet they were outraged when Cruise was announced for the Lestat role, and Rice herself repeatedly blasted the choice in interviews. After viewing the movie, however, Rice had a two-page retraction printed in national periodicals, and it's not hard to see why. INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE is a dark, lush, and reasonably faithful adaptation of Rice's novel. Cruise is masterful; his Lestat is a devilishly appealing but convincingly dangerous creature of the night. Throughout, director Neil Jordan recalls the haunting mix of dark psychodrama and visceral horror he brought to 1984's THE COMPANY OF WOLVES.

VAMPIRE's best (and funniest) moments chart the dynamics of a decidedly non-traditional family unit, with Louis and Lestat playing proud papas to the precocious Claudia. Lestat's desperate assertions of paternal authority--"Never [kill] in the house!"--make for subversive domestic comedy that's only heightened by contrast with the film's predominantly grim (and very gory) tone. leave a comment

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