Luca Guadagnino’s adaptation of the young adult novel by Camille DeAngelis chronicles a road trip by a pair of young “eaters,” vampire-like humans who exist by eating the flesh of their victims rather than drinking their blood. Eaters don’t get any vampiric superpowers or live longer, but neither are they subject to sunlight, garlic, etc.
A lot of people liked this better than I did, bandying about phrases like, “devastatingly tragic romance,” “earthly, dreamlike pull,” and “the futility of human existence.” Well, hell. I must have missed all that; I hate it when that happens. Maybe the attraction was the idea of a teen horror flick by the director who made Call Me by Your Name (and a lame Suspiria remake).
This self-serious B-movie with arthouse pretensions is beautifully filmed, and the young leads, Timothee Chalamet and Taylor Russell, acquit themselves well. But there’s little chemistry, and for a horror movie, it’s oddly free of suspense or scares. Think Bonnie and Clyde meets Twilight with a John Hughes sensibility.
The source novel is reportedly more darkly comic, and this shows up in Mark Rylance’s all-to-brief, brilliantly over-the-top and very creepy scenes. The rest is simply tedious. (131 min)