Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles
Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994) movie review
Released twenty-five years ago yesterday, Interview with a Vampire stars Brad Pitt as Louis, a young man recalling his long life as a vampire when prompted by a journalist. In his story, we see him transition through centuries, countries, and other notable characters, such as Tom Cruise’s Lestat, the vampire who turned him. The film was directed by Neil Jordan and written by Anne Rice, who also wrote the novel the film was based on. So while it is not exactly a Universal property to match our current theme, we felt it fitting to look back at this 90s Vampire classic!
Despite only moderately positive critic reviews, and most literate audiences agreeing that the novel is better, I think Interview with a Vampire is a great piece of horror! (If you consider monster films dealing with Vampires and such as horror, which I do.) Now, it is not a film I often put on for casual entertainment, like Lost Boys (1987) or some of the older Dracula films if we are talking Vampire films, however Interview stands along as a unique spin on a genre and subject that has often felt worn out or unoriginal. Full credit to Anne Rice there! Total discloser though, I have not read the novel, so everything from here on out is just my opinion of the film, since my comparison is that my sister told me the novel develops the characters more, and is better in every way because she’s not a Brad Pitt fan…
Look, when it comes to Brad Pitt, I think he plays Louis perfectly. Louis just happens to be a really fussy Vampire who gets incredibly melodramatic every time he has to do Vampire things. (Yeah I know, Vampire doesn’t need to be capitalized, but I’ve already started doing it, and I don’t feel like going back to change it now.) But when you get right down to it, the casting for Interview with Fancy, Whiny Vampires here is quite brilliant! Pitt manages just enough empathy to not hate, and he is balanced by Tom Cruise in my all-time favorite Tom Cruise role as Lestat, who is equal parts a terrible, unpredictable character, and an absolute joy to watch! Why isn’t this movie perfect? Because Tom Cruise isn’t in every scene, that’s why. Sure, it’s the right amount of moderation, but dang it if he doesn’t play one of the funniest movie Vampires I’ve ever seen!
The supporting cast does a solid job too, considering some of them shuffle in and out with the life of Louis. Christian Slater plays Malloy, the interviewer, and while he isn’t a major character throughout the film, he does a really good job capturing what the audience is feeling and bottling it all up as professionally as a reporter interviewing a Vampire would. We also have Antonio Banderas as Armand, who plays another long-haired fancy Vampire, and he manages to leave a lasting impression for not very much screentime! And last but certainly not least, we have a very young Kirsten Dunst as Claudia, who is so phenomenal in this movie, the only actor in this movie that rivals her onscreen is Cruise. Her often irritating but always either charming or sympathetic performance shows both the strength of the character writing Rice has, and Neil Jordan’s skill as a director.
The rest of the film really just boils down to the quality and value of entertainment you get from it, since the film focuses on the characters living their lives. For the most part, both of those things are pretty solid too! The tone does a steady job conveying various emotions during the situations the characters find themselves in. And while the pacing is almost perfect, I think it does drag a little right near the end. However the often blunt approach to the Vampire life also gave Rice the ability to play with lore, which I appreciated greatly. I hate Vampire movies that are too loose with the rules only when it is convenient, but Interview does a solid job letting you know what is important (most of the time anyway). It is also occasionally gruesome, as a Vampire film should be, which really helps set it apart from the Twilight (2008) films. I cannot stress this enough: Just because these Vampires are beautiful and have long flowing hair and are pale in a trendy way and are fancy and whiney, doesn’t mean this movie is like Twilight. Didn’t even make it through the first film in that series.
With two Oscar nominations, one for production design and one for original score, the quality of the film should stand on its own as a solid element too. From those two aforementioned aspects, both of which are perfect in the film, to the great makeup work, lavish costume design, and pretty rock-solid cinematography and editing, Interview with a Fancy Vampire is definitely a film you can enjoy for the quality, as well as the substance of seeing the characters come to life through rather solid writing in in terms of character arcs. One huge nitpick I have with Interview with the Vampire- wait, it’s Interview with THE Vampire? This whole time I’ve been calling it Interview with A Vampire? Okay whatever, my issue is the title anyway, so yeah. Interview with THE Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles. Why do we need two titles for this movie? I mean the connecting work, Queen of the Damned (2002), doesn’t even bridge over much material. It’s not Interview with the Vampire: Queen of the Damned. It’s just unnecessarily long, and also unnecessarily unnecessary.
So despite limping to the finish line after a strong third-act opening, Interview with the Vampire: The Bradpire Chronicles manages to end with a bang, bringing the best of the film to a perfect close even better than expected. The title may be silly, and it’s not exactly a story-driven movie, but this is probably the only movie you’ll find that looks at the life of a Vampire and nothing else. (Okay okay, What We Do in the Shadows (2016) is a masterpiece, but I was excluding comedies I guess.) The film looks great, sounds great, and makes you feel exactly what it wants to, even if that is apathy that feels like nothing. Which is what a Vampire like Lestat would feel if we are being frank. The performances are pitch-perfect, especially from Dunst and Cruise, who steal the show in every scene they are in. It may not be a perfect film, or just not for everyone, but I think it’s a unique one that should be seen! 8/10.
So Interview with the Vampire? Have you seen it? What did you think? Brad Pitt, do you love him in this? Do you hate him in this? And what is the most unnecessary movie title you’ve ever seen? (That should be an easy answer, so I expect some comments!) Whatever your thoughts, be sure to leave a like or a comment below and let us know! And if you have a movie you’d like us to review, give us a shout and we’ll write one just for you!
-review by Ryan Prince See Less