In honor of Women in Horror Month, I am shining a spotlight, dripping of blood, on the underrated vampire horror/thriller Temptation.
Director Catherine Taylor’s debut feature film (from a screenplay by Julianne White), Temptation (aka Black Tower Temptation) follows Isabel (Caroline Haines), a woman who realizes a night of excessive drinking is inefficient with helping her forget about catching boyfriend, Simon (Alexander D’Andrea), kissing another woman. While intoxicated, she accepts a ride home from a cab driver. But, instead, he has taken a detour — only to rape her in a back alley.
Eventually, a mysterious woman comes to her rescue; however, this kind savior comes in the form of vampiress Aurelie (Rachel Waters). Unbeknownst to a disoriented Isabel, she has just joined the ranks among bloodthirsty vixens. Soon, she is roaming the London streets at night, unable to comprehend how events transpired and the places she ends up.
Both Haines and Waters deliver commendable performances, breaking through afflicted, multi-faceted characters.
Waters captivates the screen by removing Aurelie’s cruel, domineering veneer, to expose a sensitive side, where she recalls a tragic romance from centuries ago. In spite of the fact, that she shares a bed with several nocturnal female creatures, a craving for a meaningful relationship lingers.
For Isabel, intense flashbacks, interweaving back and forth, emphasize inner madness and confusion, brought on by her newfound condition. In turn, she becomes increasingly conflicted, posing a threat to others.
Temptation proves to be a highly stylized production, with its cinematography deserving of attention for exposing delightfully seedy city scenes, accompanying copious servings of blood splatter.
In addition, this independent endeavor highlights sensual lesbian erotica, somewhat reminiscent of late director Jean Rollin’s sexually charged horror films. As for the plot, Taylor could have provided more suspense-inducing sequences. Other than said issue, this bloodcurdling tale is worthwhile viewing for its well-written, in-depth storyline, encased within a somber tone.
On a final note, it would definitely pique my interest to see more works by Catherine Taylor and Julianne White in the future. After all, to witness women exploring the deepest scope of their own psyche, whether it is through a camera lens and/or written materials, is always an empowering experience.
Temptation is available for rental or purchase on Amazon. Viewing is free of charge for Amazon Prime members.
You can check out the trailer below (warning: trailer may contain spoilers).