After a seemingly endless journey, PERFECT CREATURE finally made its way to DVD recently. Fox has been sitting on this one for about two years after it was picked up at Cannes, and for a brief period there was some talk of a theater run, but here we are. It has a nice polished look, and shows that New Zealand still likes to take its stab at horror films when it can. Although not nearly as violent as some of its native brothers, it is something original in the seemingly cookie-cutter vampire sub-genre.
PERFECT CREATURE tells of a parallel world strikingly similar to our own. It is set in an earlier time period, complete with old cars and dudes with derby-style hats. The major difference being that 300 years ago a gene was discovered that is essentially the vampire gene. Instead of gathering angry mobs to march up the hillside with torches, society embraces the vampires as the next evolutionary step in human existence. So the vampires form the brotherhood, which is pretty much this world’s version of the Vatican.
The brotherhood is considered peaceful; there has never been a case of a “brother” murdering a human being, until now. Brother Silus is a high priest of sorts, as is his brother Edgar. The difference being that Edgar is much more malevolent than his big bro. Both men want to create a perfect race, but through drastically different means. What takes place is an UNDERWORLD style battle of brother vs. brother, but in a literal sense. There is some sci-fi weaponry involved, and it was inventive and not overly cheesy, like some other films that shall remain nameless. I was also vaguely reminded of EQUILIBRIUM in terms of the absolutist society created by the fusion of religion and science. I think that this area could have been expanded on more than it was, but I digress. PERFECT CREATURE has a look and feel of an older period piece, than something futuristic.
The vampire myth is skewed to show the “brothers” almost like monks. They assist humans in fighting disease, and they are at the forefront of medical research. People actually go the “churches” to give blood. In one scene there are a group of brothers socializing around a table where a woman is giving blood. She has a tube coming from her arm, filling their glasses, and she couldn’t be happier. They make reference to it in the film that people give blood as penance, more than willingly.
Brother Edgar likes to take what he thinks he deserves. He ups the body count a bit, and has an amusing on-screen presence. He seems pretty smart, but pretty damn crazy as well. The vampires are pretty strong and have keen senses, making the kill scenes worthwhile. Much of the violence and gore comes from the rituals conducted by the brotherhood in ceremony. As you might assume, the rituals involve blood.
The film is a bit slow-going even at 88 minutes. It makes a few attempts at getting philosophical, with mixed results. The new twist on vampirism is pretty cool, seeing them as a benevolent race is not usually the first thing that crosses ones mind. I think having the word perfect in the title is a little ambitious for a film that is good, but far from great. If vampires are an area of interest for you, this film has some amusing concepts to offer up.