Humans and vampires have lived in harmony.... until now. . .
I still remember the online buzz that surfaced after Perfect Creature was
picked up by FOX at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. I had made a mental
marker on the flick (yes me need life) because it had a strong cast and its
concept sounded pretty money to me. And then nothing happened, the movie
fell off the face of the “insert name of planet here”. Well I finally got to
see this bad to the fang effort at the Fantasia Film Festival
(Its DVD release is also upon us soon – July 17, 2007)
and although I grooved to it; I could see why FOX was hesitant to whip out the Ding-Dong parade for it.
Perfect Creature pierced my flesh off the bat via its tantalizing premise and then reeled me in effortlessly like the trout that I am into the visually arresting pond it was set in. Think film noir with sprinkles of 1960 aesthetics (loved those Zeppelins), two cups of Gothic (let it rain baby) and a pinch of modern. Good little mix there and thankfully it gelled and was executed in a refreshingly grounded fashion. Substance wise; although the structure/plot turns were somewhat déjà vu; its random spins on known conventions within the vamp subgenre were dizzying ones. Vampires that live in cahoots with humans as pseudo “guardian angels/monks/priest”? WHAAAA? Somebody smoked some of that wacky-tabaky and came up with some fly shit! I was all up in that novel premise and loving it!
The same can be barked about the unraveling of events; which was evenly paced and driven by characters, strong dialogue and situation. Shite, even its love story was put out in a low-key and restrained fashion. And it worked! Sometimes less is more and it applied here! It’s always swell to see a flick take a different path than the one you’d expect due to its “mainstream appeal” premise. If there’s a flipside to Underworld; this film would be it. Now that’s not say that there wasn’t some Pop Corn in the house. A couple of the physical get downs (with the baddie’s initial escape being the best of the lot) had me sitting up and I mucho dug the to the grit hand to hand fight near the end. With that said; I feel the lack of flashy and grand scale action set pieces is why this puppy was shelved. There wasn't enough enough eye candy for a film of its ilk to appeal to the masses. I wasn’t bothered much by it (okay maybe a little) since I was consumed by the story, but yes, you do need a leveled attention span to digest this one.
Alas, all wasn’t perfect in this garden of rose red roses. I got a little bamboozled by the “why” behind everything; it became more and more intricate as the clock ticked forward. Problem was, I was more interested in the “core” of this tale (vamp hunts vamp with dame) and my minuscule brain had a tendency to shut off when the “exposition” kicked in. But my biggest peeve with the flick had to do with its knack of playing “lets not kill the bad guy to serve the plot” game all the time. For the love of “real tits” how many times do you have to have this clown pinned down and see him escape before you decide to nip him in the bud already? It kinda of got silly after a while and was a damn shame since the rest of the time; the flick was always true to itself. Should’ve found better ways to have the villain live than the heroes freezing like Bambi caught in headlights when around him.
By and large though; I genuinely enjoyed Perfect Creature. Its mature tone; character driven nature, subdued yet efficient love story and obvious efforts of going against the grain when it came to clichés within the vampire subgenre appealed to me. Moreover; I can gawk at Saffron “work of art” Burrows for hours on end and call it a fulfilling existence but that’s just me and my snowballs talking. Now, will you tame this creature or neuter it?