When professional photographer Alex (Yannick Rosset) accompanies his girlfriend Livia (Jasna Kahoutova) back to Romania, he gets a nasty little present. You see, after a night on the local palinka, Alex gets hit by a car (believe me, we tried this stuff in Budapest and you really don’t need to be hit by a car to feel as if you have) and is rushed to the hospital, where he receives some local blood.
Back home in the Swiss city of Neuchâtel, Alex is starting to feel a bit grim. The sight of Livia chopping up garlic makes him queasy, solid food makes him throw up and he can longer bear sunlight. Selfies and the bathroom mirror reveal Alex’s gradual transformation, but only to Alex. This clever introversion of the traditional vampire movie trope of casting no reflection throws an element of doubt into the narrative. Is Alex becoming a vampire or is he the worst form of hypochondriac?
Saying any more than this will seriously impact on your enjoyment of this film, and if you are as fed up with badly acted clumsy American body count movies as I am, you will love Chimères. This is a stylish piece of Euro horror. Every scene is lovingly set up and lit, from the winding streets of Livia’s home town of Sighisoara to the deserted industrial wasteland of Neuchâtel, where Alex hunts his prey. The narrative is intelligent and well-paced with some nicely managed suspense and shocks, and just about the right level of gruesome blood-letting and violence.
A stylish and compelling modern vampire story, I give Chimères a big 666/666.
Trivia: I know it’s nonsense that is largely the product of hack film writers, but if a vampire casts no reflection in the silvered back of a mirror, it follows that they won’t show up on traditional film stock that uses silver halide, but what happens if you shoot one with a digital camera?
Review by Simon Ball
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