SXSW Film Reviews: 'Kiss of the Damned'

Daily Reviews and Interviews

SXSW Film

Kiss of the Damned

Midnighters, U.S. Premiere
D: Xan Cassavetes; with Joséphine de la Baume, Milo Ventimiglia, Roxane Mesquida

Before a screening of Xan Cassavetes' new film, we were reassured "this isn't Twilight." The billion-dollar vampire franchise has made chaste revisions to the genre's history, but Cassavetes, daughter of director John, is attempting to revive its erotic past. Kiss of the Damned owes much to the European horror canon of the Seventies, from the opening title sequence to the elegant, ominous piano score. Djuna (the divine Joséphine de la Baume) is a lonely vampire whose lust is reawakened when she meets screenwriter Paolo (played by Milo Ventimiglia, with all the passion of dryer lint). After a bit of apprehension on Djuna's part, he becomes a vampire as well. Mimi (Mesquida), Djuna's sister, then brings her indiscriminate bloodlust into their house and is responsible for one of the film's most exquisite kill scenes. Cassavetes is about style: The film is visually striking, from the couture clothing to the high-art framing. But narratively, it is tenuous; we never get these characters' origin stories, and therefore feel little empathy for them.

Friday, March 15, 11:45pm, Alamo Ritz

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
SXSW Film Releases Full Feature Lineup
SXSW Film Releases Full Feature Lineup
Slate includes everyone from Wes Anderson to the Zellners

Monica Riese, Jan. 30, 2014

Mindy Kaling Comes to SXSW
Mindy Kaling Comes to SXSW
The comedian and showrunner will speak March 9

Monica Riese, Jan. 21, 2014

More Screens Reviews
SXSW Film
SXSW Film Reviews: 'TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard'
Daily Reviews and Interviews

Richard Whittaker, March 15, 2013

SXSW Film
SXSW 2013 Film Reviews: 'Linsanity'
Daily reviews and interviews

Michael King, March 15, 2013

More by Audra Schroeder
SXSW Interactive Conference Quick Cuts
The Signal & the Noise
Statistician Nate Silver on more data, more problems

March 15, 2013

Checking Out 'Computer Chess'
Checking Out 'Computer Chess'
It's all black and white in Andrew Bujalski's 'Computer Chess'

March 12, 2013

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

SXSW Film, Kiss of the Damned, Xan Cassavetes, Joséphine de la Baume, Milo Ventimiglia, Roxane Mesquida

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle