Like the zombie genre the vampire genre has been mined so much to the point of exsanguination. Unfortunately nowadays to most people vampire lore equals Twilight and its romanticized version of it. It certainly is a challenging genre. Countless films have been made it is amazing to think anyone can come up with original ideas when it comes to vampirism. In the last five years easily the best vampire films were Let the Right One In and Thirst. While they may have covered territory previously seen it was done in an engaging way. Olivier Beguin’s vampire tale Chimeres may look familiar but like the films previously mentioned it is done in engaging way and proves to be one of the best vampire films in recent years.
While on holiday in Romania, after a night of drinking at a local pub Alexandre is hit bay a car and taken to the hospital. Suffering from significant injuries and blood loss he is given a blood transfusion. Upon returning home with his girlfriend, Livia, Alexandre begins to have strange hallucinations and exhibits some restless behavior. Livia stands by him and tries to help him sort through the confusion that she believes stems from the accident. After seeing an article in the newspaper about tainted blood in Romania, Alexandre begins to believe he is turning into a vampire. Is he turning into the undead or is his imagination getting the better of him and just how far is he willing to go to prove it?
Of course he’s a vampire! Why else would this film even exist? It is fun how Beguin and co-writer Colin Vettier have grounded the film in a reality where vampirism could be real. They continuously plant seeds of doubt that Alexandre isn’t becoming a vampire but is simply losing his grip on reality. He was just in an accident, he has an exhibition opening around the corner, the stress must be getting to him. They toy with you until it’s time to let the cat out of the bag and once unleashed the film goes where you least expect. Okay, perhaps we’ve seen elements in other vampire films but you can always repurpose something as long as it’s done in a seemingly fresh but entertaining way. They do here and we’ll leave it at that.
Jasna Kohoutova and Yannick Rosset are very good as Livia and Alexandre. Rosset is great as he portrays a man who genuinely believes what he is becoming but exhibits palpable fear not only for what he may be but also because he could be wrong and may lose Livia in the process. Kohoutova is solid as she serves as the voice of reason and the rock for this tenuous relationship. She truly loves and cares for her man and is willing to play along with him until he comes to his senses. The lengths she goes is both touching and unexpected. Catriona MacColl appears as Alex’s mother, Michelle. While in the grand scheme she more or less serves as a plot device but it is a necessary one and certainly nonintrusive.
Well directed and edited this film is everything the Twilight saga wish it could be. It doesn’t romanticize vampirism but looks upon it as a disease such as AIDS or cancer. It’s not something you want to have. Thanks to convincing performances, a tight script, great makeup effects and some unexpected action this turns out to be a fun ride. If you’re a fan of the vampire genre you definitely want to give Beguin’s Chimeres a look.