Perfect Creature

Perfect Creature


Reviewed by: Paul Griffiths

After his first New Zealand breakout The Irrefutable Truth About Demons, writer-director Glen Standring’s back with another ghoulish retelling.

This time it’s vampires. For 300 years mankind and vampires have been coexisting in a tense but mutually beneficial relationship. The physically superior vamps protect humans, the humans give them blood. Seems fair. When a rogue fanger called Edgar (Leo Gregory) then starts a killing rampage Dougray Scott’s vampire Silus is despatched to stop him before the truce is shattered. He teams up with Saffron Burrow’s hard-nosed police captain Lilly, with her prejudiced partner Jones (Scott Mills) in tow, but starts to uncover disturbing secrets closer to home.

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Strandring sets his tale in an alternate 1960s New Zealand, Nuovo Zelandia. It’s a society that has genetic technology at its disposal but from the buildings, streets and fashions everyone appears to be living in pseudo-Victorian times, especially with its sweeping influenza epidemics. It’s a broadly effective premise that brings in tonal elements of Jack the Ripper and Coppola’s far more bombastic Dracula. Things don’t always convince as being as mud-flecked and aged as they should, though, and the panoramic CGI shots of steeples and floating airships show some of the budget constraints. There are the shadowy stalkings, action set pieces and a requisite amount of gory necking to fulfil the horror film basics, although Standring’s looking to take these stalwarts in a different direction.

A far more measured and reflective manner pervades the film, focusing mostly on Silus. This is one of Scott’s most conservative performances, barely raising Silus’ voice above the monotonous to convey him as a reserved and sensitive humanitarian. His affinity towards and compassion for the humans is always to the fore and with time also given to Lilly’s own painful past the pace slows considerably. It’s committed playing and an admittedly brave shift away from the standard expectations, but apart from the opening concept there’s not really that much of any weight or innovation going on to be pondered. The themes of ethical science and evolution, personal responsibility and respecting difference are actually treated very lightly so it all ends up feeling quite superficial.

With some of the moderate action scenes not hitting their marks either, Standring’s earnest attempt ends up being more than a little toothless and of interest to genre fans only.

Reviewed on: 08 Nov 2007
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Vampires and humans are co-existing peacefully, until the killings start.
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Director: Glen Standring

Writer: Glen Standring

Starring: Dougray Scott, Saffron Burrows, Leo Gregory, Scott Mills, Stuart Wilson, Craig Hall, Robbie Magasiva

Year: 2007

Runtime: 100 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: New Zealand/UK


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