But if there's a silver lining to the smash-hit success of the otherwise terrible Twilight movies, it's that producers all over the world are now (all of a sudden!) willing to bankroll a horror film... just because it has some vampires and a dash of romance. So in a way we can thank Twilight for recent indies and imports like We Are the Night, Kiss of the Damned, and Neil Jordan's Byzantium. It's nothing if not a little ironic: the franchise horror fans love to hate is the one that paved the way for some much smaller, sexier, and smarter vampire films.
Sort of a slice of old-school Anne Rice with a lovely array of Irish ingredients, the smart and stylish Byzantium comes from director Neil Jordan, a filmmaker who has always treated horror like a first-class genre. (He's best known for directing the adaptation of Interview with the Vampire, but his 1984 feature The Company of Wolves is definitely worth tracking down, although his malformed 1988 supernatural farce High Spirits probably is not.) Based on the play A Vampire Story by Moira Buffini, Byzantium is hardly the most unique or unpredictable piece of bloodsucker cinema you'll come across, but it's easy to assert that the earnest effort displayed here outweighs the borrowing of a few familiar tropes.