Synopsis: Two female vampires reside in an old estate in the countryside, luring victims to their fate. A group of young campers discover their abode while camping in the nearby wilderness, and try to uncover the mystery behind them.
Saying a remake isn’t as good as the original seems to be an overused phrase these days. Most of the time, we know what to expect whenever someone reimagines a classic that we hold dear. Needless to say, a collective groan can be heard whenever one of these goes into production. As any marketing employee or focus group will tell you, remakes have a guaranteed audience, and always turn a profit—mostly due to an audience who can’t turn away from their own curiosity. Certain films are products of their time, and deserve their place in history. However, because original ideas are next to impossible to come by these days, it seems the modern remake is here to stay.
The bottom line is simple: just because something worked great a few decades ago, doesn’t mean it’s going to carry weight today. Trends in horror are in a constant state of evolution, they come and go like the tide. When certain subgenres are revisited years after their high water mark has passed; we often find ourselves disappointed with the results. That’s the overall feeling one gets from Victor Matellano’s remake of the 1974 genre classic Vampyres. It’s a mundane product, and also quite forgettable.
The main problem is its lack of focus, which reeks of indecisiveness. It attempts to keep true to the source material, right down to repeating some of the same dialogue, and utilizing a lurid combination of sex and blood. On the same hand, it throws its fair share of modern tropes into the mix, which doesn’t work in its favor. That’s what the end result feels like, a failed attempt to update gothic horror with a new touch. Sadly, it doesn’t even come close to accomplishing that feat—at all. While the original had an erotic vibe to it, this feels like shoddily crafted expose of excess in the same vein as the Hostel series. It’s no different than something you might find on late night soft-core television. You can bring back elements, clichés, plot devices, and even the gothic architecture, but you can’t recreate the most important piece of the puzzle—the look. The original, as well as a great many classics from Hammer, have a certain aura about them. Although the 1974 version wasn’t a Hammer production, it certainly deserves to be considered in the same vein as such. Even with all the advancements made in cinematic technology, the outward appearance from that time period is what set so many of those films apart from their contemporaries.
That’s the thing with genre pictures; they’re best left in the genre and time period that they originally took place in. If there’s one saving grace to be found, it’s the presence of screen queen Caroline Munro. She tries to make the most of the lackluster material she’s presented with. However, her performance is phoned in for the most part, and she seems like a fish out of water. Still, seeing her on screen again does lend some authenticity to this convoluted mess.
When all is said and done, it’s a boring film. It fails to pull you into the story, or keep you invested for the entirety of its duration. If you’re looking to sit down with a film that combines erotica and gothic fantasy, it’s best to stick with the original. This is just mindless excess trying to ride the coattails of bygone era. This remake will certainly leave you flaccid.