Monday, October 21, 2019

Theresa & Allison – review

Director: Jeremiah Kipp

Release date: 2019

Contains spoilers

This feature length story is set in the same world as the web-serial 21st Century Demon Hunter. After watching this I am now watching the web-series and am aware that there is at least 1 vampire episode.

In this, however, whilst demons and werewolves are mentioned it is all vampire, all the way. Whilst it is clearly of a low budget the film shows a huge amount of heart and this primarily is down to some fine performances and not scrimping on the blood.

vampire bureaucracy 
We start with Theresa (Arielle Hope) in an office facing Mary Solenz (Sarah Kraus). Theresa is confused, she was raided by the NYPD and knows they found the body in her bathtub but Solenz seems unconcerned with that. What we eventually discover is that Solenz is part of the Hierarchy – the vampire ruling body – and Theresa, a new vampire, has been brought in for orientation. It is clear that they are unconcerned with the dead bodies she has left in her wake.

The film takes us through Theresa’s turning – her being with a friend and very drunk, being put in a cab but waking up and the cabbie being gone, of meeting a mysterious woman (Pooya Mohseni) being picked up, going back to her place, sex and the attack. In this the vampire will get drunk if alcohol is in the blood stream and whilst her talking to the dying Theresa seems for the sake of cruelty at first, it becomes clear it is the drink talking… to the point that she decides to save the girl by turning her. In the morning Theresa awakens with her elbow burning in sunlight, the mysterious woman awakens with a hangover, regrets and a dawning realisation that she turned Theresa.

Allison and Theresa
Solenz outlines the rules their society live by and the truths of vampirism (sunlight, fire, beheading, stakes all kill), as well as some of the falsehoods (lack of reflections, garlic, needing invitations, holy items harming them). One thing that does get to Theresa is the idea of feeding on children (it is banned) but Solenz does reminisce about the good old days when children weren’t as likely to be missed and how good they taste – especially babies. Having left the orientation Theresa is found by Allison (Sarah Schoofs) who saw her at the centre, having been receiving a wrist slap herself along with her erstwhile lover Tony (Charles D. Lincoln).

with Tony
Allison gets her to open up. In her first month she has killed five people and is unhappy with her lot. Allison pronounces herself Theresa’s guide to their world but actually wants somewhat more of an intimate relationship. This goes wrong when Theresa realises that Tony was a guy and becomes concerned that Allison is using her as a lesbian rebound from her heterosexual norm. She later meets Tony, who teaches her to control her senses – until his predatory actions becomes too much for her (psychologically torturing a victim to make the blood taste nicer).

She is drawn, briefly, into the politics of the vampire families and eventually goes to a ‘party’ hosted by Tony and Allison’s (vampire) mother, Sakkara (Amy Jo Jackson), where Theresa's morality is tested to the core. Allison remains a dark temptation a hedonist with a good dose of nihilism and the film is, essentially, a view of Theresa’s moral struggle, with the well-built world an interesting background to that struggle. It is carried very much by the two primary actresses who both give believable performances, especially Arielle Hope who carries a range of emotions through the two-hour running time.

about to bite
Though low budget the film plays on the New York setting, offering a grotty vista and it does not shy away from nudity, sex and lots of blood – the blurb on Amazon suggests the film is “dark and depraved” and it is, and its appeal is in that depravity. These vampires are, at heart, monsters and revel in it. I worried as I put this on but I really enjoyed it and it is well worth a watch – 7 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

On Demand @ Amazon US

On Demand @ Amazon UK

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