Temptation on DVD

Tuesday, 02 November 2010 16:52

Set in contemporary London, “Temptation” tells the story of Isabel (Caroline Haines), the tragic victim of rape and attempted murder at the hands of a minicab driver. At death’s door, she is saved by coven of female vampires. Isabel wakes the next morning with amnesia, an inability to eat normal food and strangely accelerated healing powers. As her shocking memories creep back, the realisation dawns that she is now a vampire.

The police make headway on and tie together multiple murders and missing persons cases that include the cabbie, and their attention turns to Isabel. She must piece together the whole puzzle before they do, but more importantly decide whether she is going to surrender to the dark desires of the demon that is taking her over inside. If she relents, her soul will be lost. The only alternative is death, and the clock is ticking. This is a low budget British horror movie which is being marketed on the back of crude images of scantily-clad lesbian vampires. The vampires’ main haunt is a striptease club called ‘Temptation’, and the DVD cover features a sexy vamp with blood dripping onto her bosom.

Temptation - British horror on DVD I am happy to report that there is actually a half-decent plot with some solid characterisation lurking in the background!

Caroline Haines does a commendable job as the emotionally and physically torn victim-come-blood sucker. She lives at home with her worried younger sister Kylie (Laura Evans) and their mum (Faith Hanstater). The guilt and desperation Isabel feels is palpable as her family proudly defends her when the police come calling. She knows that when the vampiric curse takes hold, her kin and boyfriend (Alexander D’Andrea) will be in serious danger, but she has nowhere else to hide and no one else to turn to.

Some of the more prominent vampires are given back-stories through a mixture of flashbacks and conversation, helping to establish a sense that they have been around for hundreds of years even though the film is very modern. There is not a lot of variation in their characters, but at least the writer has tried. Lead vampire Aurelie (Rachel Waters) clearly establishes herself as the boss, and she oozes a sense of seductive power in combination with the ability to mercilessly crush those who fail her.

In spite of its low budget, the movie sports a slick look. According to the special features, this is partly thanks to an innovative bolt-on device that the cinematographer used to transform digital footage into fake but compellingly realistic 35mm film. London looks fantastic in the daytime and at night, with the usual tricks in force such as time-lapse cloud formation and day/night transitions, and also a bold contrast between the bright neon lights and red lipstick and blood on the one hand, and the pitch-black shadows on the other.

Unfortunately it is not all good news. Aside from Isabel, her family and one or two of the lead vampires, the acting is bland at best. In the actors’ defence, they were not helped by the fact that much of the dialog had to be re-recorded because most of the live sound recordings were unusable. One of the policemen in particular (Graham Bowe) looks and sounds like he would rather be curled up asleep in bed than heading up a bizarre murder investigation!

The action also looks cheap and cheerful, though again the editing, choice of shots and camera angles suggest that director Catherine Taylor and her crew knew what they are doing. It just seems they did not have the money to flesh out their vision sufficiently to make this a film worth seeing. What we are left with is a fairly generic, economy horror film that does little of merit to grab one’s attention. Special mention ought to go to the soundtrack, which is way over the top. Applied to another film it would probably be fantastic. Just not this one.

The two special features on the disc include a half-hour ‘making-of’, and “The Drowners”, a weird short film by the director that features synchronised swimming.

“Temptation” (2009) is out now, courtesy of Isis. The feature’s running time is 87 minutes approx, certificate ‘18’ and the movie retails for £15.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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