Plugged as the first Lebanese vampire movie, “The Last Man” is a curiosity item in the genre and, in more ways than one, a bloodless art film. Though it sucks a lot of weird atmosphere out of Beirut (where director Ghassan Salhab shot his well-traveled second feature “Phantom Beirut”), the idea of linking the vampire myth to the city’s depressing sociopolitical climate is more intriguing than film itself. Tipping its hat to the mysterious imagery of Murnau’s “Nosferatu,” pic has seduced numerous fests, which is about as far as it’s likely to travel.
Tall, solitary Dr. Khalil (a superbly icy Carlos Chahine as a balding, middle-class Max Schreck) works in a hospital where victims begin turning up with human bite wounds in their necks. He immediately seems to be the perpetrator, given that he bites patients on the throat and has no reflection in mirrors. But maybe not. Salhab is clearly enchanted with the idea of a man who is neither alive nor dead, and perhaps the vague story sets off more bells for local auds. For others, it’s a mood-piece built around dreamlike images and unexpected editing combinations.