Striking a good balance between horror and comedy (with the emphasis tilted to the former), this contemporized vampire tale flits along in entertaining fashion before making like a ghoul and falling apart at the end.
Maximillian (Eddie Murphy) is the last of a breed of Caribbean vampires, descending on Brooklyn in search of a half-human, half-vampire woman who’s unaware of her lineage to be his bride. Rita (Angela Bassett) and her partner Justice (Allen Payne) are cops investigating the murder spree Maximillian has caused, with furtive romantic interest between the two partners complicated by Rita’s attraction to Maximillian.
Stealing scenes as the Renfield of the piece is Kadeem Hardison as Julius, whom Maximillian turns into his ghoulish assistant, and his foul-mouthed uncle Silas (John Witherspoon), who’s unconcerned about having a vampire in his building so long as the rent gets paid.
Helmer Wes Craven keeps the action [from a screen story by Murphy, Vernon Lynch Jr and Charles Murphy] moving despite some detours allowing Murphy to play other characters as he did in Coming to America. Murphy proves effective and menacing as the vampire in a rather brave departure from what might be expected. Bassett looks great once she gets vampired-up. The vampire effects and makeup are also impressive.