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‘Lilith’s Awakening’ is an Avant Garde Modernization of Dracula (Review)

 

Written By: Lois Kennedy

Director: Monica Demes

Cast: Sophia Woodward, Steve Kennevan, Barbara Eugenia (who also performs the song over the end credits)

Lucy is a young woman who leads a humdrum life working at her father’s gas station. Her ennui is interrupted by a sexy guitar-playing vampire who starts busily chomping on everyone in sight.

The film opens with a voiceover admitting, “Sometimes I’m afraid of what I desire,” setting the tone for the movie. Lucy is repressed and controlled by everyone around her. She’s trapped in a loveless marriage. Her husband (whose name is Jonathan Harker, natch) forces her to have dinner with his boss Renfield; when Lucy protests that she doesn’t like the way he looks at her, Jonathan tells her to avoid eye contact. Lucy’s lover Arthur (if you haven’t read Dracula, Arthur is a suitor of Lucy’s friend Mina—Cary Elwes plays him in Bram Stoker’s Dracula) is no better; he pops up uninvited in Lucy’s car and forces her to kiss him and promise that she’ll meet him later. When she doesn’t meet him, he tries to rape the next woman he sees. Her father Abe (Helsing) is not only literally her boss but also tries to rein her in by telling her who she can and can’t see. He advises Jonathan, “Lucy needs grounding, and getting her pregnant will do it!” Jonathan then decides they’ll start trying to have a baby without discussing it with her.

However, I don’t know if The Vampire (as she’s credited—for simplicity, I’ll call her Lilith, as IMDB does) is an improvement. She haunts Lucy’s dreams, terrifies her, and bites her without her consent. Lucy’s messed-up life isn’t fixed by becoming a bloodthirsty monster. She goes from being a controlled woman to a woman who is able to enchant and control other women with her powers. Yet making Lilith female is an interesting twist on the source material. It highlights even more the connection with Bram Stoker’s Lucy, who is often crowded and coddled by the men in her life, who go overboard trying to protect her.

lilith's2

Hipster vampire, take me away!

The movie’s very artsy. We’re talking filmed in black and white (with random colorization, mostly of blood), close-ups of the bottom half of Lucy’s face and feet, and a sparse amount of dialogue. There’s zero exposition, so the story was a little hard to follow at first for me. Also, Arthur and Jonathan look alike, so before their characters were fully established I had to learn to tell them apart by amount of beard hair. Duality is a constant image system, with Lucy gazing into a mirror more than once, and Lilith bearing a resemblance to her. At one point, Lucy even has her raccoon-y eye makeup.

There’s a sense of isolation and detachment throughout the film. The streets are deserted, and there are multiple shots of Lucy sitting bored at her post with no customers. The filmmakers also make interesting use of jarring noises like the creaky porch swing, Lucy’s alarm clock, and wolves howling. But the film isn’t scary per se. There’s a scene when Lucy sees Arthur sitting on her porch swing laughing hysterically—it’s just odd enough to be unsettling. Though he’s a less than convincing laugher—think Miko Hughes in Pet Sematary. The actors are overall competent and Sophia Woodward as Lucy shines. Literally, because that’s how the lighting is. Check it out if you’re in the mood for something serious, original, and a bit weird. Make it a double feature with A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.

Rating: 4/5 for being interesting but really off-putting

About GhoulieJoe (169 Articles)
I wuvs the horror movies and like to write snarky reviews about them. I also included some pretentious as hell microfiction (don't worry, it's at the bottom).

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