Kiss of the Damned

Directed By: Xan Cassavetes

Starring: Josephine de La Baume, Roxane Mesquida, Milo Ventimiglia, and Anna Mouglalis

As the owner of Sobriety Test and its webmaster, I try to regularly stay abreast of comments by readers checking out reviews all over the site.  I would like to say thank you to all those who take the time to contribute to the discourse here on this small website.  Whether encouraging, enthused, or critical of my reviews, I do appreciate all of your comments and look forward to all the great discussions ahead of us.  That being said, there are times when I adamantly disagree with some of your comments.  For example, one recent reader referred to Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon's The Cabin in the Woods as hipster BS.  I haven't been able to get that notion out of my head for the last couple of weeks, especially when I recently checked out Xan Cassavetes's Kiss of the Damned.  Unlike The Cabin in the Woods, this take on vampire mythology is some real hipster BS.

Djuna (Josephine de La Baume) is a vampire living out in a remote safe house outside the city.  While out one day, she meets a man by the name of Paolo (Milo Ventimiglia).  They instantly hit it off and start going out.  Paolo is definitely cool with sex on the first date, but Djuna is not.  Every time they begin to get intimate, Djuna becomes reluctant and kicks Paolo out of her house.  Getting aroused by a human seems to awaken her thirst for blood, and she fears that she will lose herself in the moment with Paolo.  When Paolo does find out that Djuna is a vampire, he convinces her to bite him and turn him into a bloodsucker as well so that they can be together.  As vampires, they find sweet romantic bliss.  Unfortunately for Djuna, her crazy sister Mimi (Roxane Mesquida) arrives to spend a week with them at the house and starts messing up everything.

There's not one damn thing intriguing about Kiss of the Damned.  It's a tale of love. It's a tale of warring sisters.  It's a tale of vampires with self-control.  Regardless, it's a tale that sucks.  In recent years, we've seen one too many vampire romances, and Kiss of the Damned is just another bland, dissatisfying addition to the bunch.  The acting is anything but acceptable.  Josephine de La Baume and Roxane Mesquida belong on some sappy soap opera, not a feature film.  Their performances do nothing whatsoever to engage the audience or to get us invested in the outcome of the film.  To make matters worse, we're tortured with some annoyingly cheesy music throughout the movie.

It's no surprise that I generally struggled through this steamy, erotic vision of what life is like to be a bloodsucking vampire.  Director Xan Cassavetes tries to make this cool, hip young adult romance that just happens to be about undead lovers with a curious taste for blood.  At its core, however, the film is more akin to soft porn with vampires than a feature film.  It's easy for me to make this comparison because all our vampires are women who seduce their meals in bed.  The only exception to this is Milo Ventimiglia's Paolo, who is a potential meal for Djuna early in the movie.  Moreover, Kiss of the Damned is like a show I might find on Cinemax in the wee hours of the night.  The cheesy music, sub-par acting, and half-assed story only further my case.

Kiss of the Damned is one unfortunate affair.  You are truly damned if you watch it because you'll have thrown away 97 minutes of your precious free time for some overly sexual crap.  I can't tell you what to do though.  I can only make recommendations.  If you do see this terrible re-imagining of traditional vampire lore, I recommend you hit the bar and start pounding through some mystery shots.  Kiss of the Damned gets a wasted rating.