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Vampire Diary

What could have been "My Junkie Girlfriend" with just a few tweaks focuses on a more mythological addiction in "Vampire Diary." But the enabling relationship dynamics are pretty much the same. Co-directors Phil O'Shea and Mark James' pseudo-doc (most footage supposedly shot by fictive protags) finds a group of London Goths who play at being "vampires" infiltrated by a real one.

With:
With: Anna Walton, Morven Macbeth, Jamie King, Kate Sissons, Justin McDonald, Keith-Lee Castle.

What could have been “My Junkie Girlfriend” with just a few tweaks focuses on a more mythological addiction in “Vampire Diary.” But the enabling relationship dynamics are pretty much the same. Co-directors Phil O’Shea and Mark James’ pseudo-doc (most footage supposedly shot by fictive protags) finds a group of London Goths who play at being “vampires” infiltrated by a real one. Well-made but ultimately a curio of middling viewer engagement, pic’s deliberately rough texture and lack of scares makes it of greater interest to those who’ll watch any vampire-lore variation (especially vampire-lesbian stuff) than to mainstream horror fans.

Aspiring filmmaker Holly (Morven Macbeth) is filming her friends for a potential documentary on “weekend vampires” — Goth scenesters in regulation black who wear fake fangs and sometimes actually drink each others’ (consensually offered) blood for an extra thrill. Clubbing one night, she notices herself being videotaped by a mysterious woman. Later the gorgeous, pallorous Vicki (ex-model Anna Walton) shows up for a party at Holly’s, then asks to stay the night. Soon the duo are madly in love. But Holly is disturbed by Vicki’s peculiarities: She never seems to eat or sleep, going out in the wee hours each night on under-explained “walks.” Meanwhile, Holly’s wannabe-vampire pals begin dwindling in number, they and random strangers turning up drained of all blood.

By the time Holly figures it out, she’s in too deep — a situation complicated further by news that Vicki is pregnant (by a male vampire who raped her a few weeks earlier.) Couple at first try to find non-murderous alternatives for feeding mommy and unborn, like stealing plasma from hospitals. But this and subsequent attacks on the living attract public attention, resulting in a manhunt that closes in as Vicki comes to term.

“Vampire Diary” is in its way a serious (if slightly preposterous) relationship drama, with a touch of “The Hunger.” Scenarist O’Shea’s concept is credibly worked out. Yet at the same time, this exercise in hand-held-camcorder quasi-reality about the occult can only manage so much emotional resonance.

Perfs and tech aspects are decent.

Vampire Diary

U.K.

Production: A Bard Entertainments, Sterling Pictures and Widestream production in association with Intl. Film Collective. Produced by Margaret Matheson, Michael Riley. Executive producers, Robert Bevan, Keith Hayley. Directed by Mark James, Phil O'Shea. Screenplay, O'Shea.

Crew: Camera (color, HDV, DVcam & mini-DV to BetaSP), Nemone Mercer; editors, Mark Atkins, James; music, Simon Russell; production designer, Caroline Story; costume designer, Story; sound, John MacDonald; assistant directors, Andy Bates, Daniel Charrington; casting, Lucy Jenkins. Reviewed on DVD, San Francisco, June 19, 2007. (In San Francisco Lesbian & Gay Film Festival.) Running time: 89 MIN.

With: With: Anna Walton, Morven Macbeth, Jamie King, Kate Sissons, Justin McDonald, Keith-Lee Castle.

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