Friday, October 12, 2012

The Hunger

An ancient but beautiful vampire (Catherine Deneuve) begins seducing her new lover/companion/familiar (Susan Sarandon), after her former one (David Bowie) rapidly ages and is no longer of use to her.

The Hunger, despite having vampires and ghouls and violence and special effects, barely seems to qualify as a horror film for most of its length. Instead, it's more of a dreamy, pseudo-arthouse oddity, unfortunately directed by a man (Tony Scott) whose gifts were better suited to the blockbuster. It has effective scenes (notably the sex scene between Sarandon and Deneuve, and the nightmarish finale which is the only part that feels at all horror-ish), but most of it is slow and unstructured, skipping around between shots and scenes willy nilly, not really building up any steam as it goes along.

Thematically, the film is a mess, too. The first half of the film is about Bowie growing old and being discarded by Deneuve (she locks her former lovers in caskets, for some reason, instead of letting them die, where I guess they live forever in agony), and the focus seems to be on their twisted love story. The second half, about the seduction of Sarandon, suddenly seems to shift into an addiction story, with vampirism being a metaphor for the addiction, and I guess Deneuve being the pusher and Sarandon the junkie. Eventually the two halves come together, but not in any meaningful way, and the ending does not feel like it is adequately set up by what came before.

The Hunger is moderately interesting for its oddness, but it's atmosphere isn't strong enough to overcome the turgid, unfocused story. Scott is too much of a showoff to convey this kind of eerie melancholy, and the end result is mostly limp.

Rating: C

1 comment:

Mr. Subtlety said...

I do have to say, I love Bowie to death in this. In the first part (when he's around) the story is just barely interesting and unusual enough to sustain its ponderous silliness. Once he exits: death. I think the only other interesting part is the tiny Willem Dafoe cameo as thug #2.

But that first part is good enough that I think it's kinda a cool take on the vampire story. I think a remake by someone better suited to the material might actually be sort of great.