Film: The Addiction
Director: Abel Ferrara
Writer: Nicholas St. John
Starring: Lili Taylor, Christopher Walken and Annabella Sciorra
This film begins with narration of slides. They are images from the Vietnam War of mass graves. We see that there are two students who stand up when the lights come on, one of them is our main character played by Lili Taylor while the other is Edie Falco. They are both graduate students in philosophy at the University of New York.
They leave class and talk. They cross the street, but split ways. Taylor is kind of quiet and reserved. She walks through a neighborhood full of people who will never leave the area and think they are something special in their hood. Taylor crosses the street and encounters Annabella Sciorra.
Sciorra grabs Taylor’s arm and drags her down a flight of stairs into a dark alley. She demands that Taylor tells her to stop and for her to leave. Taylor cannot do it and Sciorra bites her neck. It turns out that Sciorra is a vampire. Taylor goes to the hospital. She is checked out and they inform her that she does not have AIDS. She is cleared to go home with a big bandage on her neck. She gets home and begins to clean the blood from her neck. She is visible shaken and scared.
She then becomes sick. She goes to class the next day and has to get-up in the middle of Paul Calderon’s lecture to go to the bathroom. She throws up blood and convulses on the ground. Taylor begins to wear sunglasses and has lost her appetite. She also has taken an even darker view on the world. Her first feeding is from taking blood from someone with a syringe and injecting herself with it.
There is a weird scene where Taylor and Calderon go out. This is odd, because he is her professor and they shoot up with heroin. Calderon has two blood spots on his arm with one saying ‘in’ and the other ‘out’. Taylor uses his blood to feed her addiction.
She becomes bolder after this. She meets an anthropology student in the library who is played by Kathryn Erbe. Taylor takes her home and bites her neck. Erbe is confused as to what happened and Taylor is very cold and callous in her response. Another instance is when Fredro Starr hits on Taylor while she walks past and Taylor seems interested. She follows him up to his place and drains his blood as well. She also bites her best friend Falco.
Taylor’s addiction grows worse and worse. She begins to bite anyone she can at random. While trying to do this, she meets Christopher Walken. He is like her and he takes her back to his place. She wants to know more about their condition, but he doesn’t have a lot of answers. He has been able to keep his cravings under control and lives a pretty normal life. He does feed on Taylor and the pain is so great she wants to kill herself. Walken scoffs at her when she tries, knowing it has no effect.
She is now re-invigorated in school. She uses the talk with Walken as inspiration and finishes her dissertation. She presents it in front of the board and she awarded her Masters degree. She goes to the party of celebrating those awarded their degrees and invites everyone to an after-party she is throwing herself. What does she have planned? Has she learned to control her addiction? Will she ever be able to live a normal life again?
I have to say that I didn’t know what to expect coming into this, but I am glad that I watched this. I will start with the acting. Taylor is really good as the main character. She seems almost too smart and acts like a know it all. She also seems to be the perfect person to have the addiction like she gets. Walken is great as well as the wise, older vampire who is pompous. I really like though he puts Taylor into her place. The rest of the cast does well in their roles also. I think the story is really an interesting take on vampirism. It really is a curse, but I like that they look at it as an addiction to the need of blood. I also like that director Abel Ferrara decided to do it in black-and-white. It adds an element of nostalgia to it as well. I like they constantly show images from the Nazis and Vietnam as they killed mass amounts of people. I don’t like that all of those people were killed, but it draws a parallel to what Taylor is doing.
The only thing that I didn’t really care for is the pretentious feel to the film. I understand why it is there, speaking that Taylor and Falco are both philosophy graduate students, so they have a lofty view of the world. On top of that they go to the University of New York as well, which just adds to that. Walken acts similar to them as well. Now his could be attributed to being a vampire and having seen a lot. There is a lot of talk that I really didn’t get. Doesn’t ruin the film, just personally something I wasn’t a fan of.
I would recommend this film if you like vampire movies. This one has quite a different take on them. If you know anything about addiction, this film gives an interesting take on how drugs and vampirism could be similar. The acting is good and the story is solid. The film is in black-and-white, even though it was made in the 1990s. I feel it adds something to the film. It does have a little pretentious feel, but I think that is something that needs to be there due to the characters and where they go to school. Different from Dracula and other vampire stories, as this looks more at the symptoms and how someone could deal with them. I would definitely say to give this film a viewing.
My Rating: 8 out of 10