After Dark review

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The latest venture from Dark Temple Motion Pictures is a neon-soaked, sexually charged vampire tale that flies on the right side of camp.

We follow Jennifer, a girl in good need of a night out who encounters the mysterious Izabella in a local nightclub, and wakes up with a mysterious virus on her upper thigh.

Jennifer lives with her friend Jack who is seeing closeted police officer Freddie, who is part of a taskforce investigating a slew of vampiric-like murders.

What we have are two plot strands here, as Jennifer begins to manifest vampire traits whilst the police look to stop this ‘virus’, which feels oddly poetic given the state of the world right now.

In terms of references, After Dark feels like an 80s throwback, with Fright Night and also Manhunter being some of the most obvious comparisons.

The film is also backed up with a pulsating and at times hypnotic synth soundtrack which fits the narrative so well and helps really capture the hypnotic nature often manifest by vampires.

The standout performance comes from Jessica Alonso as the mysterious Izabella, who gives a hypnotic performance that really carries the more visceral parts of the film. Flanked by Natalie Martins as the more sympathetic Jennifer, they have great chemistry which makes Jennifer’s plight the more believable.

I am not sure if I was reaching but I also draw a comparison with the AIDS crisis of the 80s, as many queer characters come under threat from this mysterious virus, but here it makes them into monsters. We also see a hate-fuelled attack on a gay character which doesn’t which reach the brutality of the Adrian Mellon assault in IT Chapter 2, but is quite jarring to see.

After Dark is certainly Dark Temple Motion Pictures’ most stylish film to boot and thrives on its B-movie status like a vampire on a fresh victim.

After Dark screened at the Sohome Horror Film Festival: Pride Edition.

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