Perfect Creature

Year: 2006
Production Co: Darclight Films
Director: Glenn Standring
Writer: Glenn Standring
Cast: Saffron Burrows, Dougray Scott
A strange little movie, partly it felt like it should have enjoyed a much wider and more successful release, but partly it looked hokey and unoriginal.

The one triumph of the film was in world-building. It was set in a strange, indeterminate time and place that seemed like a cross of the gangster-era 1930s, noir and recent-past New Zealand.

Shot in New Zealand, which explains the strong design nods and many kiwi actors, it's the story of a symbiosis between humans and vampires. The former are lost, descending into squalor and the petty crime that consumes the slum areas of their rain-soaked cities, the latter a church-like brotherhood sworn to protect humanity, taking only the blood they need from their charges to stay alive humanely instead of attacking and killing them.

Like many great 'new world' stories, it's a detective thriller as a vampire goes rogue, murdering victims to drink and staying one step ahead of the Opus Dei-like controllers of the vampire race, threatening to bust a centuries-old secret wide open. The human detective (Burrows) on the case is paired with an enigmatic vampire (Scott) to track down the psycho before he permanently damages already-delicate human-vampire relations.

The idea is great. The execution of it is a routine chase thriller where the heroes from either side of the tracks falling in love feels a little too familiar, but the production design is excellent and it's a world I'd like to see revisited in a much bigger and more ambitious movie.

You've got to feel sorry for Dougray Scott. Locked into filming on another movie, he had to pass on Wolverine in the first X Men and might have been a major star today in another life. He acts a little too much, giving his vampire dog-like head tilts that are supposed to be a cool mannerism for his species but just look silly.

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