Embrace of the Vampire (2013) Blu-ray Review: Better Than the Original, Which Isn’t Saying Much

When I heard there was a remake of the 1995 erotic vampire flick, Embrace of the Vampire, I had but one response which was – and I think I speak for the entire Internet here – why? The original is really rather terrible. The only reason anyone saw or remembers it was because Alyssa Milano, fresh off of her Who’s the Boss fame, got naked in it. She isn’t in the remake so it seems ridiculous that they’d make it again. I suppose they figured they’d get a little press – albeit likely scornful – for it and as they say any press is good press.

The crazy thing is, it’s actually not bad. I mean its still a long friggin’ way from good, but it is a lot better than the original and for what it is – a low-budget, silly little erotic vampire flick – it’s very watchable.

They updated the plot, and made it comprehensible in the process, but there’s enough of the original left so it can still be called a remake. We’ve still got our virgin attending university. She no longer has a boyfriend, but she is a fencing champion. There is a vampire who is strangely bound to her. They lost the stupid back story, terrible voice-over and instead chose to make who the vampire is unknown until the very end (though it really isn’t that hard to figure it out.) There are lots of erotic dreams, some lesbian fantasy, and a few set pieces that are exactly the same. But the writers actually know how to tell a story and the director is competent.

Sharon Hennendael is the new Alyssa Milano. She’s very pretty and a decent actress but doesn’t have nearly the appeal of Ms. Milano. The university scenes play out like a John Hughes high school movie but with less comedy and more gore. Hennendael’s character, Charlotte, comes from a strict Catholic-school background and she must learn to navigate the various pitfalls of college life. She struggles to deal with her academic, athletic, and social life. The filmmakers do a good job of making us empathize with her character and the harsh realities of her new life. Added to this mix are strange dreams. Like the original film, these dreams are often erotic, but here they have a tendency to turn darkly violent.

There is a mysterious gypsy lady who tries to tell Charlotte the reason behind these dreams is that she is a vampire slayer. But much like Buffy, Charlotte ignores these warning and instead aims to be a typical college student. Eventually dream violence turns into real horror and Charlotte must face who she really is and battle the forces of evil, and a vampire in order to save the day.

Yeah, it’s still a pretty terrible movie. It’s more comprehensible, and better made, but at the end of the day it’s still a b-grade vampire flick. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. If you like b-grade vampire movies, this one’s pretty well done, and it’s definitely a better film than the original. Of course it doesn’t have a naked Alyssa Milano, which was kind of the whole point of the original. But it does have plenty of beautiful naked women who are not Alyssa Milano and quite a bit more horror, violence, and gore than the original, which may be the whole point of this remake.

This is a straight-to-video, er Blu-ray, release. The video and audio are both quite good for being a low-budget horror movie. There are no extras or special features.

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Mat Brewster

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