Is there any creature so synonymous with the horror genre than vampires? They’ve been featured from ancient legends and folktales to multimillion dollar romance franchises and cereal boxes. With so many different ways vampire fiction has been portrayed and produced over the years it often begs the question: what are vampires really like?
Olivia Romo (Dennice Cisneros) is a vampire romance novelist down on her luck both in her career and in life. Spending her time alone at the family cabin on Lake Tahoe left to her by her late mother and getting enough rejection letters on her latest fang-fiction manuscript that she can fill a drawer with them. All while getting repeatedly called out over the phone by her sister as she spends Christmas by herself. Then one fateful night, she hears a commotion outside and finds an injured bat. Loading it up in a cardboard box, she decides to help the wild animal heal in her garage, only to discover too late that her new nocturnal friend is a vampire named Luke (Nico Bellamy) and that he has friends and enemies of its own… and he might be able to help her punch up her book.
Directed and written by Sean Nichols Lynch, Red Snow is an interesting take and reconstruction of vampire romance movies, a particularly highlighted and prominent sub-section of the genre. And while it hasn’t been quite as evident in recent years, the effects of prior works like those of Anne Rice, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Twilight franchise, and more are still felt in vampire fiction to this day. So it is very amusing to have a would be author of those kind of stories be caught in the middle of a conflict with some real and brutal bloodsuckers.
Dennice Cisneros does a phenomenal job as Olivia, especially as things escalate. You cannot help but sympathize with her dreary situation and can understand her escapism into vamp fiction. Which also helps her be savvy in the long run when confronted by the real thing in the form of Luke and others. She maybe excited to have an actual vampire in her home but she does realize the severity and danger of the situation, too. And on Luke, he makes for a good mysterious vampire stranger character. Affable, friendly, and clever to Olivia… when he’s not too hungry. Making for some particularly amusing dialogue when he reads her latest story and gives a resounding critique of it and how some parts offended him. Their relationship unfolds not unlike a lot of gothic romance stories but you can still see there’s something darker beneath the surface.
Also have to commend Vernon Wells as Julius King, the Abraham van Helsing of the movie. Showing a distaste for vampires both real and fictional as he subtly insults Olivia’s vampire themed Christmas decor and warns her of dealing with actual bloodsuckers. Also further putting Olivia into questioning whether her vampire subject may have more insidious plots for her. Which is in large part why I enjoyed the movie so much, Red Snow does an excellent juggling act of both playing vampire tropes straight and subverting them in unexpected ways. After all, who better to deal with vampires than someone who’s trying to make a career of writing about them? Without spoilers, though this has an underlying romantic sub-plot, expect plenty of the red stuff when the vampires need to feed.
If you’re in the market for a vamp-rom-com-thriller with plenty of affectionate ribbing/staking to the genre, Red Snow is the biting satire for you.
Red Snow will be having its world premiere at Panic Fest 2021 on Wednesday April 14th and will be viewable virtually. Trailer below.