Title: Isabel

Also known as:

Year: 2013

Genre: Horror / Fantasy / Mystery

Language: Czech

Runtime: 93 min

Director: Lukáš Melník & Marcel Škrkon

Writer: Lukáš Melník & Marcel Škrkon

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2735524/

In an attempt to get a great scoop, a young female journalist finds herself in the middle of a vampire society. While her boyfriend waits outside, she has to try to get out alive.

Our thoughts:
It's 2014 now, and the vampire subgenre hasn't really seen many changes in its time. All of that is fine when making certain movies - a "Dracula" movie for instance. It does seem like we are currently finding ourselves in the middle of two eras of vampirism now though, and that's between the romaniticism (the more classic approach) and the rebellious (think '80s entertaining vampires). It's where most vampire movies end up now, hell even that disasterous "Twilight" franchise is true to it in many aspect (though it also seems to be inspired by Stephen Geoffreys' career, har har). I didn't expect a huge change in this Czech vampire movie, so while I might have secured myself not to be surprised it still gave me a bland taste in my mouth.

Isabel is a young journalist in Ostrava. She decides to investigate on a scoop but the night ends up in a strange place with even stranger people - and she'll have to risk her life to get out alive. You guessed it. This society-like place is populated by vampires. They don't act as beasts, but as outcasts. Without spoiling too much, you might have guessed that Isabel at some point gets involved "by blood", and you'd be right.

It's known that I'm not huge on vampires, but in a time of movies like Shunji Iwai's "Vampire" I am never gonna be sure - I loved that movie. Looking back at oldies like "Nosferatu", "Dracula" or even the '80s classics, I'm certainly a fan when the genre is done a certain way. It's just hard for me to enjoy the majority of shit that has been done with the subgenre. "Isabel" isn't terrible, but it's a movie that doesn't woo me with great characters, it doesn't scare me, it doesn't have me curious about its vampire mythology, and it doesn't play the erotica card (à la Jean Rollin), so what does that leave me? I'm not sure.

It's mostly well made, has a likable and sympathetic main character, some good blood scenes. What I see in "Isabel" is a love for a subgenre but no intention of reinvention. It doesn't stray far away from the norm. That would have been fine had it only featured certain other things to spice it up. To me, it's just another vampire movie. Does that mean Lukáš Melník and Marcel Škrkon made a bad movie? Not really. If I was a huge fan of most vampire movies, then there is certainly nothing specifically wrong with this one, but I'm not. If vampires is your taste in all weathers then this is most likely a decent addition.

Positive things:
- Pretty good production values overall.
- Likable main character.
- Some bloody scenes.

Negative things:
- None of the characters stand out as unique or memorable, not even the main character.
- It doesn't do much to stray away from other vampire movies.

Gore: 2/5
Nudity: 0/5
Story: 1.5/5
Effects: 3/5
Comedy: 0/5

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