Like many vampire tales, Kiss of the Damned weaves back and forth over the line between horror and eroticism. The movie follows human screenwriter Paolo as he falls for the vampiric Djuna and eventually joins the legions of the night. Just as he’s starting to enjoy life as an immortal, Djuna’s murderous sister Mimi returns to complicate things.
Written and directed by Xan Cassavetes (Alpha Dog), Kiss of the Damned features Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes), Joséphine de La Baume (Johnny English Reborn), and Roxanne Mesquida (Rubber) in its lead roles.
This preview steadily checks off the required boxes for vampire-movie fare. Tortured romance; shocking revelations; embracing the night; gatherings of aloof and aristocratic immortals; dauntingly athletic sex scenes; dyed Karo syrup by the quart. Even the trailer’s moody, evocative shot work can’t cover up that Kiss of the Damned looks like quite the clichéd dip into the vampire mythos.
The only aspect of the presented storyline that intrigues is that rogue vampire Mimi is actually considered a criminal by her people. As many vampire movies present their bloodsuckers as cabals of amoral predators, more law-abiding Nosferatu might prove quite interesting.
That said, director Xan Cassavetes’ previous directorial outing, the documentary Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession, received more-than-decent marks from critics. Though Kiss of the Damned is a far cry from a documentary about a forgotten television station, Cassavetes’ skill may mean that this movie is more than its trailer implies.
Kiss of the Damned will creep into movie theaters on May 3, 2013.