Kiss of the Damned DVD/Blu-ray

Monday, 27 January 2014 00:00

Kiss of the Damned on DVD and Blu-ray“Kiss of the Damned” is a vampire film for those horror fans who prefer a more gothic, Euro art-house take on the genre rather than the sparkly, angst-ridden “Twilight” blood suckers. Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes, “Rocky Balboa”) plays Paolo, a struggling screenwriter who one night bumps into a spellbinding woman called Djuna (Josephine de La Baume – “Rush”, “One Day”). Despite some serious sparks on their first date, Djuna tries to avoid him.

Paolo refuses to stay away and soon discovers the reason for Djuna's reluctance: she is a vampire and she fears she will not be able to resist feeding on him. The writer is not deterred and sure enough, she turns him. They try to adhere to a conscientious lifestyle but the arrival of Djuna's immoral and destructive sister Mimi (Roxane Mesquida – “Rubber”, “Kaboom”) threatens to turn their world upside down.

“Kiss of the Damned” is a highly atmospheric movie that tells its story without relying on heaps of dialogue. These are decadent, high-society creatures who remain hidden from ordinary humans, rather like the ruling cast in "Blade". They have amassed wealth by living a long time and do not want to risk losing it all through rash, impulsive actions.

Writer/director Xan Cassavetes has directed very little else but strikes out here with an impressively confident style, shot through with dark shadows and bold primary colours. She draws the most out of her actors, bringing life and veracity to the tale despite its supernatural leanings.

The film strives for atmosphere rather than terror, though there are one or two scenes that might just curdle the audience's blood. For example, short depth of field is used to frightening effect when a character is running scared through a forest, their pursuer emerging at speed from the blurry gloom.

Fans of Dario Argento's giallo movies will be quite at home with this film thanks to its gothic eroticism and mysterious characters. It certainly is not a match for his best movies but does provide a refreshing, alternative take on vampires.

Special features include:

  • Commentary track by writer/director Xan Cassavetes
  • Cast and crew interviews
  • Trailers

The DVD version reviewed does suffer from occasional, fleeting moments of confusion when the picture becomes so dark it is hard to decipher what is going on, but otherwise the moody tone very much works in its favour.

“Kiss of the Damned” (2012) is out now on DVD and Blu-ray, courtesy of Eureka!. The main feature has a running time of 97 minutes approx, carries an ‘18’ certificate and retails for £9.99 on DVD and £12.99 on Blu-ray, or less from


Last modified on Friday, 31 January 2014 12:04

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