Red Snow (2021)

Rating: C

Dir: Sean Nichols Lynch
Stars: Dennice Cisneros, Nico Bellamy, Laura Kennon, Vernon Wells

Unsuccessful novelist Olivia Romo (Cisneros) is holed up in her late mother’s cabin for Christmas, feeling sorry for herself, having just had another rejection letter for her book, Touched by a Vampire. A bang at the window is a bat having crashed into it. She puts the poor creature into a box in her garage overnight, but in the morning is surprised (to put it mildly) to find it has transformed into a hunky, naked vampire, Luke (Bellamy). Before she can come to terms with that, she’s visited by a vampire hunter, Julius King (Wells), who warns her Luke and his pals are very dangerous. Luke, meanwhile, says King and the order he works for are genocidal fascists. Who does she believe?

It’s a nice set-up. It’s a shame the execution is just too low-key to be much more than… what was the word Chris used to describe it? Ah, yes: “cute”. If ever a phrase damned a vampire movie with faint praise, this would be it. I think the middle is likely the biggest problem. At the beginning, it works because of the tension caused by the presence of King, and we’re discovering about vampires alongside Olivia. At the end, Luke’s pack turn up, led by the feral Jackie (Kennon, top), the truth is revealed, and the story goes in some unexpected directions. In the middle? Not so much. Luke and Olivia sit around chatting, and the film’s limited resources (five actors and one location) can no longer be hidden.

It’s a shame, as I wanted to like this. How can you not enjoy a sexy vampire, forced to wear old woman’s clothes, because that’s all Olivia has to hand? I also would have liked to learn more about the universe in which this operates. Were King’s Severon Group really responsible for wiping out all the unicorns? I definitely wanted to believe that vampires hate Nosferatu, because “It’s our Birth of a Nation“. And I echo one character’s question: “What the fuck are candy elves?” Yet, for every moment which worked, there was another that attempted to be… yeah, “cute”, and that’s not something I look for in my vampire films. It’s one step short of them sparkling.

The performances are a bit of a mixed bag. Good to see Wells again, still playing a bad-ass well after he started collecting his pension. Bellamy is okay, and does a decent job of keeping the audience guessing as to whether he is a vicious killer, or a hunted victim. Cisneros is probably the weakest link: the awkward persona she brings to Olivia outstays its welcome. It also leaves her final act transition into a middle-aged version of Buffy – complete with crossbow – an awkward and unconvincing one. This is about worth watching,  for the good moments, including a particularly good manual decapitation. However, you may well be left feeling that the c-word is the best way to describe this.