At an isolated country manor, Mr Bauer (Greg Wise) resides with his teenage daughter Lara (Hannah Rae) and Lara’s hard-ass governess Ms Fontaine (Jessica Raine). Lara spends her days being bored off her ass… that is until the survivor of a carriage accident (Devrim Lingnau) is taken in by Bauer.
The girl claims she has no memory of where she’s from or who she is, but Lara takes to calling her Carmilla. Lara becomes absolutely smitten with Carmilla, as they mystery girl stirs new feelings inside her… but there is more to Carmilla than meets the eye which could spell doom for the Bauer household!
Based on the novella by Sheridan Le Fanu of the same name, Carmilla is a tale of vampirism that pre-dates Bram Stoker’s more famous Dracula, but is every bit that novels equal… and where Dracula dabbles in homo-eroticism, Carmilla flaunts it.
Admittedly, writer/director Emily Harris has dialed back the more overt vampire biz in this adaptation, leaving it more as a suggestion than a full-on representation, but that doesn’t mean that this isn’t filled with scads of that good ol’ Gothic atmosphere that your’s cruelly eats up with a sinister spoon!
The manor in which the story takes place is as much of a character as the people that live behind it’s walls; all aged splendor that has seen better days, but beautiful regardless… at the same time the dwelling is filled with dark shadows of kept secrets, and not just those of Lara and Carmilla…
As the teenager’s relationship blossoms, the resentment of Fontaine grows exponentially. You see that stern governess has sapphic desires of her own that she has kept in check for decades, and she’s none to thrilled that Lara is livin’ free and loose.
To that end, Harris and cinematographer Michael Wood keep our heroes awash in warm light signifying their life and growing passion while Fontaine is kept in cold hues, forever denied and alone.
Bottom line: this adaptation of Le Fanu’s classic is full of ambiance, passion, and as ironic as it seems, life and comes highly recommended for not only fans of the source material, but Gothic thrillers in general!