Embrace of the Vampire
- Alyssa Milano as Charlotte Wells
- Martin Kemp as The Vampire
- Harrison Pruett as Chris
- Jordan Ladd as Eliza
- Rachel True as Nicole
- Charlotte Lewis as Sarah
- Jennifer Tilly as Marika
A pretty tired and dragging vampire fantasy/horror, Embrace of the Vampire gets by thanks to some erotic atmosphere and the sexy Alyssa Milano shedding her good girl image.
An unnamed Vampire has lived alone for thousands of years, dwelling on his days as a romantic nobleman before his transformation. It happens that he will disappear for good and from existence if he doesn’t acquire the love and blood of a willing woman within three days. In his sights is the young and virginal Charlotte Wells; a college student about to turn 18 and struggling to adjust to campus life after being raised in a convent as a young girl. At the minute, Charlotte is having difficulty with her boyfriend Chris. He wants them to sleep together,but pure Charlotte is not ready for that step in their relationship. Into her thoughts and dreams comes the vampire, who casts a spell on the girl and pulls out devious tactics to bring her to him. With all of these visions and manipulations being put on her by the desperate vampire to make her love him, Charlotte slowly transforms from a shy girl to sensual siren as the dreams get more pronounced. The increasingly shocked but sexually awoken Charlotte discovers that she has a choice to make in the days that lead to her coming of age. Will it be eternal life with the vampire or genuine love with Chris?
Anne Goursaud has good style as a director which she adds to the film, but her powers over story and getting us to be interested in the film is less controlled. The script is a big let down that just throws so much into the cauldron and doesn’t bother explaining any of it sufficiently. The main character of the Vampire may be nearing the end, but it doesn’t mean that we want to be dragged along as the whole exercise suffers through lack of development or soul. We don’t feel anything for the vampire, if we did this may have been a film with a bit of substance. And while Embrace of the Vampire is billed as something of a horror, despite a bit of death, it’s rather bloodless and not at all given a feeling of shock or suspense. One of primary reasons Embrace of the Vampire gained any notice was the prospect of the formerly sweet Alyssa Milano in and mainly out of her clothes. And yes she does go nude in this movie, in many love scenes. I must say though that the scenes in question do have a very erotic feel that lifts it slightly above the sleaze that it sort of is. More passion seems to be poured into these sex scenes( which include a lesbian scene and a vampire orgy) than any part of the movie, cloaking them in a dark desire. This is probably why they are the most remembered parts for how they show Charlotte’s shift from rule abiding girl to sexy lady. You can tell that these scenes mainly functioned to tantalize the audience and on that score they succeed as the erotic angle is the best stylistic and coherent part of a slow drudge of a film. The music is completely overblown, yet on the odd chance it does bring a little bit of ambience to a rather tepid film.
The main reason for watching Embrace of the Vampire is the presence of Alyssa Milano. At the time of filming, she was known for being the wholesome young girl so this film is a definite change of pace. Although the threadbare script doesn’t quite have a hold or clear idea on the character of Charlotte, Alyssa Milano fills in the gaps to give what is really the only good performance in the film. The way she struggles with her feelings and desires once hypnotised by the vampire is well-played and you do feel her agony and ecstasy as she blossoms into a vixen. The part didn’t call for much in the way of acting ability, but Milano is a talented actress and made it work. The same doesn’t go for any other members of the cast. As the Vampire, Martin Kemp is pretty wooden and charmless when he should be seductive and mysterious, which is part of the reason the story is a damp squib. Harrison Pruett is pretty bland as the boyfriend, while Jordan Ladd and Rachel True are superfluous as two of the girls on Charlotte’s campus. Charlotte Lewis is stranded with a one note part of a seductive photographer, and not even the reliability of Jennifer Tilly can save the role she is given.
It’s a largely unimaginative affair, with no real horror and it must be said a plot that is practically non-existent, but the two strong elements of Embrace of the Vampire; it’s style and good performance from Alyssa Milano at least keep you from reaching for the off button.