Once again, Netflix has proven that while their original movies and series can be very hit or miss, the “originals” they import from Europe always hit their mark, particularly in the horror/thriller genre.
Between Marianne, Veronica, The Platform, and now Vampires, those viewers who can handle reading subtitles (which really isn’t hard) are getting to enjoy better material than Netflix tends to put out (excluding Stranger Things of course). So let’s sink our teeth (cheesy pun intended) into France’s Vampires!
During the Bubonic Plague which ravaged much of Medieval Europe, a small few were affected by a mutated strain of the virus, turning them into what we know as vampires.
At least this is the explanation the series gives for the existence of such creatures. They are not undead monsters of the night, rather a separate species on the genetic level.
17 year old Doina (Oulaya Amamra) is a half human/half vampire, who has spent her whole life suppressing her vampiric abilities and living a life as a normal human.
Many years earlier, her mother Martha (Suzannae Clément) ran away from the group of vampires known only as the community, and wants nothing to do with them.
However, they return and one of their leaders Csilla (Kate Moran) takes an interest in Doina, and wants her to embrace her vampire identity; a choice that she and her siblings must make as well.
Compared to the barrage of vampire fiction (particularly those aimed at teenagers), Vampires sets itself apart from the likes of Twilight and Vampire Diaries in just how ordinary and unremarkable it is.
This truly isn’t meant as an insult, in fact its overall like of stylization works to both the series’ benefit and detriment. These characters and setting seem very ordinary, and because nothing is really over the top, it makes it all the more believable that it could be real.
The suspension of disbelief is very minimal, as rather than focus on spectacle or mythology, it left room to focus on relatable characters.
Sure Doina’s vampiric choice isn’t something any of us face, but many at that age struggle with identity and the choice of which path in life to follow.
The only time she’s not relatable is when they try to shoehorn a “chosen one” subplot by the end, but it’s a minor issue.
However, due to its lack of any particular style, it does make the series less memorable than its cheesier counterparts. It also results in a villain that certainly shows potential, but just comes off as a bit bland.
Overall, Vampires is an interesting series because of its characters. And it tackle the idea of vampires in a more down to Earth setting with (mostly) relatable characters.
Hopefully it doesn’t suffer the same fate as the last brilliant French Netflix original (Marianne), and it gets a second season!
Vampires is streaming exclusively on Netflix!