Twilight, for the last few years, has created quite a stir in the vampire-loving community. It made vampires accessible to the pre-teen, Gossip Girl-loving crowd, and unfortunately neutered them almost completely. While I’ve gotten tired of the numerous quips about Stephanie Meyer’s vampire universe being “sparkly,” it’s a good way of saying there’s nothing all that dangerous about her vampires.
Midway through the run of the Twilight movie franchise, we started seeing work that tried to take vampires back to their roots. Movies like the Fright Night remake and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter have turned vampires back into villains, with some successes and some failures at making them legitimately scary.
So Pretty, a 2012 short film from Stage 5 TV, takes this idea in a different direction. For the first time (to my knowledge, anyway) we’re getting a story that turns the Twilight premise on its head without being a parody. It takes the ideas behind Meyer’s work – the sexiness, the love, and the fake vampire anguish – and seriously examines just why it’s all so ridiculous.
Check it out here:
While the short isn’t perfect (there are some cheesy voice effects at the end that detracted a little from my enjoyment), it raises some interesting questions about vampires and their needs. A blood-sucker that works as more of a vigilante than straight killer and/or conflicted “vegetarian” is new to me.
The short proved popular enough to lead to a sequel, So Dark, which takes the original premise and fleshes it out into a complete short film. Sean (Jeremy Palko) has been taken into custody following the events of the original short, and the Miami PD are in the process of transferring him over to the FBI.
At roughly twenty-one minutes, we’re able to get a much better sense of who our main vampire anti-hero (I’m not sure that’s the best description for him, but let’s just go with it) is.
It also does some interesting character work with one of the bit players from the short, a junkie woman (Julie Kendall) who I figured would never be seen again. She’s given a backstory that actually made me feel for her, which I did not expect to happen in a film that’s so short.
We get some new characters, too: a couple of territorial police officers and a mysterious FBI agent (Keri Maletto) who knows more about the supernatural world than she’s admitting.
Outside of the cast, the cinematography is pretty good. The movie is shot in a professional way and uses its very empty police station set to excellent effect. The place is definitely foreboding and it infuses the various scenes with a sense of uneasiness. You just know something big is coming.
And what comes ends up being genuinely surprising – to me, at least. I expected the climax to go down a certain way that just didn’t happen. I like it when a film can do that.
In the end, we get a more fleshed out world with a lot of avenues for future exploration left open, and a pessimistic view of vampires and humans that makes So Dark a much more appropriate title for this possible franchise than So Pretty.
Check out the whole film here:
- Starring: Jeremy Palko, Keri Maletto, Julie Kendall
- Directed by: Al Lougher
- Running Time: 21 min.
- Genre: Supernatural, Suspense
What do you think of So Dark? What about the whole vampire genre in general? Hit the comments and let us know!