Byzantium returns vampires to the darkside

Nearly 20 years after directing his first vampire film, a certain Interview with the Vampire, Neil Jordan has returned with Byzantium. The British-Irish film has already run the festival circuit and will hit cinemas in June. Byzantium follows two vampire “sisters” with a 200-year shared past as they descend upon an English seaside town and wreak havoc.

Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan, The Lovely Bones, The Host) is the quiet younger one, an introvert preferring to write in her journal the gothic events of her troubled life, while Clara (Gemma Arterton, Quantum of Solace) is the opposite, extroverted and sexual. The pair have been compared to as sisters, but also as a mother-daugther relationship; Clara reportedly found and turned Eleanor 200-years ago, and is referred to as “my mother” by Eleanor, yet they appear close in age, almost sisters.

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Clara attracts the attention of Noel (Daniel Mays), who has recently inherited the rundown Byzantium Hotel, and both girls settle into at the hotel, feeding off their victims as they try to stay one step ahead of their pursuers. Falling for a sickly man named Frank (Caleb Landry Jones), Eleanor’s secret might have been revealed. Nevermind the carnage Clara has caused.

Eleanor may have exposed them but it is more likely Clara who’s drawn the attention of “The Brotherhood”, a group of male vampires out to remove female vampires and keep vampires a boys only club. Their meeting, which brings in Johnny Lee Miller (Trainspotting, Elementary, Dark Shadows) and leads to what has been described as a “blood-drenched finale” set in a deserted seaside amusement arcade.

Byzantium had its world premier last September at the Toronto International Film Festival before making the rounds at other festivals gathering mixed reviews. These vampires are reportedly scary, day walkers, though no confirmation yet of fangs. One review reports “there isn’t an incisor in sight”, and instead refers to “digits” that “sharpen at the sight of blood”. Watch the trailer below.

One thought on “Byzantium returns vampires to the darkside

  1. I found this film fairly good. It was moody and atmospheric like Interview w/ the Vampire. There were things that were left to the viewers imagination, such as the source of vampirism, which i can see how it would make most viewers think there are plot holes galore present. I thought the cast was excellent. As for the setting of a worn down, grey seaside town, i thought it was perfect. Maybe i read too much into that but the setting gave the sense of what living forever would be like, tired and worn down. Overall this is a good thought provoking film. Oh, no fangs just creepy thumb talons.

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