Movie review / ‘Carmilla’ (MA)

Share Canberra's trusted news:

“Carmilla” (MA) *** and a half

HOW do you kill a vampire? Any fool knows the answer to that question. You hammer a wooden stake through its heart. Easy peasy!

For this film, writer/director Emily Harris has adapted one of the early works of vampire fiction, Sheridan Le Fanu’s 1871/72 novella, antedating “Dracula” by 26 years. 

The narrator is Lara (Hannah Rae), a young woman preyed upon by Carmilla, (an anagram of Mircalla, Countess Karnstein) a prototypical example of the lesbian vampire, expressing romantic desires toward the protagonist. 

The novella notably never acknowledges homosexuality as an antagonistic trait, leaving it subtle and relatively unmentioned. The story has often been adapted in film and other media.

Carmilla (German/Turkish actress Devrim Lingnau, apparently building a career in spooky movies) is found injured when the carriage in which she was travelling has an accident. She is carried to a nearby country house where Miss Fontaine (Jessica Raine) is caring for Lara (Hannah Rae) who is mourning the death of a childhood friend. 

Lara and Carmilla become friends and potentially, by implication, lovers. But Carmilla is not what she seems.

The story builds and develops its tensions slowly until it has nowhere else to go but save Lara from exsanguination just in time while Carmilla lies dead on a hillside. 

Movies of this kind have an audience. I was not unhappy to see the end of it. Which is not to deny that in its own way, it has subtle merit.

At Dendy

Who Can You Trust?

In a world beleaguered by spin and confused messages, there's never been more need for diverse, trustworthy, independent journalism in Canberra.

Who can you trust? Well, for more than 25 years, "CityNews" has proudly been an independent, free, family-owned news magazine, serving the national capital with quality, integrity and authority. Through our weekly magazine and daily through our digital platforms, we constantly and reliably deliver high-quality and diverse opinion, news, arts, socials and lifestyle columns.

If you trust our work online and believe in the power of independent voices, I encourage you to make a small contribution.

Every dollar of support will be invested back into our journalism so we can continue to provide a valuably different view of what's happening around you and keep free.

Click here to make your donation and you will be supporting the future of journalism and media diversity in the ACT.

Thank you,

Ian Meikle, editor

"Carmilla" (MA) *** and a half
Previous articleMovie review / ‘The Man in the Hat’ (PG)
Next articleMovie review / ‘Ema’ (MA)
Dougal Macdonald
“CityNews” film reviewer

Leave a Reply