Nadja

on August 25, 1995 by Sean O'Neill
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   Like life, film plots run in cycles: a time to laugh, a time to cry, a time to reap, a time to sow, a time to make vampire movies, a time to not make vampire movies. "Nadja" is not a bad little vampire film, but it suffers from a disastrous case of bad timing. In the wake of "Bram Stoker's Dracula" and "Interview with the Vampire," the potential bloodsucker audience is likely about tapped out for now, and neither writer/director Michael Almereyda nor star Elina Lowensohn bring enough to the mix to make this indie black-and-white flick stand out in a saturated marketplace.
   Almereyda works hard. In his own precious, consciously grungy way (he shoots vampire visions in the sublimely low-tech Pixelvision), Almereyda tries to put a hip spin on the shopworn Dracula vs. Van Helsing material (here, Nadja and her brother, both children of the night, are a pair of clubhopping New Yorkers), but his imagination seems more focused on composing striking shot compositions than in communicating pure and simple human emotions.
   Though the distributor might well emphasize "Nadja's" erotic aspects in its ad campaign, the film is more erotic in the ripe, langorous potential hanging over many scenes than in what actually happens onscreen. The effect of the sole sex scene, between Lowensohn and Suzy Amis, is more emetic than erotic, involving as it does an exchange of menstrual blood. Still, Peter Fonda--normally a liability to even the worst picture--thorougly enjoys chewing this B-movie scenery as Drac and Dr. Van H., and his fun is infectious. David Lynch adds a droll cameo, and Portishead's songs make the soundtrack sizzle.    Starring Elina Lowensohn, Suzy Amis and Peter Fonda. Directed and written by Michael Almereyda. Produced by Mary Sweeney and Amy Hobby. An October Films release. Horror. Rated R for some scenes of bizarre vampire sexuality and gore, and for some language. Running time: 92 min.
Tags: Elina Lowensohn, Suzy Amis, Peter Fonda, vampires, Michael Almereyda, horror, sex
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