dead & beautiful
Now streaming on shudder
REVIEWER: purdie picot
Dead & Beautiful features a group of twenty-something friends who have so much money they are now bored of their lavish lifestyles. Each week one of the friends sets up an activity for the others, each trying to out-do the last and bring something fresh and exciting to their lives. And when money can get you everything, except happiness, then well, you have to get a little creative.
One of these chaotic nights has a lasting effect, the friends are turned into vampires. Now they have to figure out what a modern day vampire means, how they were turned and how they can live with the fangs. As per most vampire tales, it is a transformative story, a turning point in the lives of each of these young friends and their true personalities are amplified by this supernatural change.
The extreme wealth of these friends puts up a barrier for the audience, it’s a comfortable barrier, as it makes the voyeuristic look into their private lives more satisfying. How is Ana coping not live-streaming to her fans every hour, and how will she hide her fangs? Lulu is caught up in a love triangle with Mason and Alex all while unpacking some deep family trauma brought forth by the vampiric change.
Dead & Beautiful features a lot of familiar imagery and themes, ‘money doesn’t buy happiness’, the emptiness that comes with extreme wealth, and that as a vampire film the emphasis is on the sultry, sexy and questionable morals. The film also leans into a beautiful sensation, artful shots and a slow and steady pace throughout that lets you just soak in the atmosphere. While some of the familiarity will make some choices a bit predictable, like any horror film it amps up and gets wild in the last act, no spoilers here! It’s not an action packed horror, and the characters can feel a little one-dimensional, but it’s a beautiful ride nonetheless.
Vampire movies aren’t dead, they are still as sexy as you hope and as always a perfect metaphor for big life changes.