The Best Vampire Movies You’ve Probably Never Seen

vampires

Vampires (2010)

A documentary crew explores the daily night lives of a vampire family.

If the premise sounds familiar, it’s probably because Taika Waititi’s brilliantly funny What We Do in the Shadows used essentially the same set-up more recently and far better. Both films are faux documentaries, both are comedies first and foremost, and both have a slight edge of darkness to their otherwise light appearance – a nighttime home invasion here is legitimately terrifying at times. As mentioned, this Belgian entry isn’t up to the standards of Waititi’s film, but it still delivers plenty of entertainment value.

Part of its charm is in a script that dissects the mythology of vampires while adding new tidbits and rules to polite bloodsucker society. There’s a moody teenage vamp constantly trying to off herself, they attend night classes to learn how to laugh by watching horror films, childless vampires are forbidden to own property for “obvious” reasons, and references to the living “meat” in the other room will leave you both intrigued and off dinner for the night. It may not have the bite of another Belgian faux-doc (Man Bites Dog), but it’s definitely worth a nibble.

Buy Vampires on DVD from Amazon.

we are the night

We Are the Night (2010)

Three lady vampires take a young thief under their collective wing and introduce her to the fast life of the undead, but trouble arises when their expensive lifestyle draws the attention of the police.

The film opens on a passenger jet high in the night sky as the camera tracks from the blood-soaked cockpit back through an equally messy passenger cabin before coming to rest on three well-dressed, smiling women. Engorged on their energy drink of choice, they knock out the fuselage door and leap from the plane. It’s a killer opening, and it remains a slick slice of action/horror throughout. There’s a stellar foot chase and plenty of gunplay as the girls find themselves targeted by the authorities for their extravagant and deadly lifestyle, and it’s all a ton of stylish fun.

Traditional vampire tropes are played with, but it’s the fresh ideas that appeal here. The vamps are sexy without being exploited and are clearly in control of their situation. And the explanation given for the lack of male vampires is a doozy that makes me wish it was accompanied by flashbacks. The film definitely has heart, something lacking in most vampire movies, but it still manages to pack a visceral and stylish punch. It’s all about the girl power and follows through on that theme – take that Twilight – but it never gets in the way of the highly appealing thrills.

Buy We Are the Night on DVD from Amazon or watch (dubbed) via Amazon Shudder.

the transfiguration

The Transfiguration (2016)

A young boy struggles with a desire to drink human blood, and the desire wins.

This recent indie shares some DNA strands with the late George Romero’s Martin as it focuses on a character whose belief matters more than his reality. Blood is spilled and splashed, but young Milo’s story is given power through both its setting and newcomer Eric Ruffin’s performance. The events transpiring around him– drug deals, street violence, sexual abuse – are presented simply as a reality, and while they seem ripped straight out of The Wire or some austere indie drama the backdrop they create informs Milo’s situation and inward-facing focus. He may or may not be a vampire himself, but the world around him is most assuredly sucking the life out of everyone it touches.

Milo is a sociopath in training, and while the vampirism adds an original layer to it all, the core truth of his actions remain. That truth is unavoidable, but the film manages to leave viewers interested and engaged in his well-being. The arrival of a teenage girl who he forms a bond with ratchets up the tension and our concern, and while the film’s methodical execution won’t appeal to everyone those who go along for the ride will be rewarded by a deeply affecting tale of loneliness, isolation, and the high cost of self-awareness.

Buy The Transfiguration on DVD from Amazon.

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