As we approach Halloween, we horror fans begin looking for movies that we might have missed upon release. Whilst there are many underrated #horror movies that should be seen by more people this Hallow's eve, I want to share a particular vampiric romance that you can really sink your teeth into: Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton's Byzantium.
Byzantium is about two women who hole up in a seaside motel, attempting to make a living for themselves while hiding from their past and the people who wish to do them harm. This film really transfixed me on #vampires until I was at a point where instead of fear and dread, I was experiencing this intense, multi-life spanning loneliness. After all, their story is relatable to a lot of us.
“The pearl stays pure forever, while the oysters flesh rots around it.”
We’re all born into this world, trapped in our own consciousness, reaching out for human connection without ever being able to know if someone feels and experiences life the same exact way we do. From little things like our differences in taste, to the inability to know if the connection to another person is of equal strength on both ends. I’ve heard people say a wedding is important because if gives you one perfect day to look back on when that connection seems to fade. To me, more importantly, I find myself looking back on those small moments; a split second of a mutual smile or embrace, a firm grab of my girlfriends soft tits. If I was to live multiple lives, would I ever feel that way again? Are we staying grounded in something that’s real or are we being sentimental?
Isolation and Intimacy in Byzantium
This movie itself is really etherial and isolates our characters from the outside world. Despite it being set in a bustling district, it felt very intimate; not a typical vampire film to say the least. It builds in a really atmospheric space, almost overshadowing the actual storyline, which is pretty epic in and of itself.
There’s a possibility I filled in the blanks myself in a forgiving fashion, but the characters felt really fleshed out. The two main leads have well documented backstories as well as strong performances highlighting subtle behavior cues that tell me a lot about them. This movie itself felt very complete, so it’s hard for me to find criticism here.
It’s really a tale of romance, even just the way it feels. There’s moving Beethoven piano music flooding a sort of neo-gothic atmosphere which, by the way, intertwined perfectly with the flashbacks throughout the film.
It’s inevitable that a vampire movie will be grounded in classic elements of the sub-genre, but Byzantium manages to push in its own direction, inspiring a surprising amount of mystery. The scenes surrounding the origins of vampires felt particularly the most jaw-dropping, just really well done. It helped that the location was beautiful of course but that takes no credit away from the cinematography.
It's an absolutely stunning vampire movie, I have no idea how this didn’t pick up more traction. However, I sincerely hope that anyone looking for a great vampire romance they might have missed picks up a copy of Byzantium this #Halloween.
Have you seen Byzantium? Do you agree that it's underrated? Let me know in the comments below!