1995’s Embrace of the Vampire became a minor cult classic mainly because Alyssa Milano is naked for large chunks of it. But the film has a strange, melodramatic charm to it that makes it watchable after the softcore bits are over. Remember the opening, when that guy is jumped by three naked draculas by the river? That whole scene is like the cover of a romance novel. It’s so silly and ridiculous, but it’s that sensationalized tone that makes the original digestible.
Now it’s been remade, with the gore and lesbianism amped up several notches. Unfortunately, the goofy charm of the original is missing. Carl Bessai’s Embrace of the Vampire takes itself much too seriously and while they were busy adding more sex and graphic vampire kisses, the filmmakers forgot to develop an interesting story. Even without comparing it to the original, this remake falls short of being compelling in any way. Also, easy on the speed-ramping, fellas.
Charlotte Hawthorn (Sharon Hinnendael) is a timid young woman starting at a university that looks more like a resort for models than an institution of higher learning. In the IMDB synopsis, they make it a point to note that Charlotte is attending a “co-ed” university, but I’ll be damned if one male student had a line. She’s plagued by nightmares that usually end with someone getting their neck violently bit open. Daily doses of medication keep her “blood disease” at bay, although she doesn’t seem to know any specifics about her condition.
It’s difficult to comment on Hinnendael’s abilities as an actress, since she isn’t given much to do except act shy and give her best “O” face a few times. All of the characters are drearily uninteresting from her roommate Nicole (Kaniehtiio Horn) to the titular vampire who embraces Charlotte, her fencing instructor Cole (Victor Webster). Like with Hinnendael, it’s impossible to gauge whether the actors are bad when the lousiness of the script sucks out all enjoyment.
There are a handful of graphic vampiric scenes, including a pretty impressive (albeit brief) prologue. These scenes overdo it big time with the speed-ramping – a tired editing trend seen in everything from action flicks to erotic cult remakes. I don’t get it either, it never looks cool. In Embrace of the Vampire, it’s used mainly during reveals that the person being sexy with Charlotte is a vampire. Is the speed-ramping supposed to make it scary? I dunno.
The mythology of this Embrace of the Vampire adds some hereditary slaying aspects, which would be cool if they weren’t introduced 75 minutes into the film. Up until then it just kinda seems like Cole has an unhealthy crush on Charlotte and she sucks at sleeping soundly. Her black outs are very convenient for making scene transitions, I’ll give them that.
Charlotte’s family history and their relationship with vampires isn’t brought up until nearly the end of the film, leaving a scant couple of minutes for her to do some actual slaying. It’s a terribly rushed, anti-climactic sequence.
Embrace of the Vampire is a loose remake of the original, but while the 1995 film had melodramatic allure, this one is painfully boring. It would’ve benefited greatly from introducing Charlotte’s slaying family tradition earlier in the movie, rather than its final minutes. Ultimately, it’s an easily forgettable remake.