What’s It About?
Coming of age drama set in the 1700s in southern England, which sees a mysterious stranger arrive and disrupt the life of isolated teenager Lara, much to the consternation of her governess.
Who’s In It?
Jessica Raine (Robin Hood, The Woman In Black, Wolf Hall, & Fortitude)
Hanna Rae (City Of Tiny Lights, Broadchurch, & Fighting With My Family)
Devrim Lingnau (Immortality, Auerhaus)
Other notables include:
Tobias Menzies (Casino Royale, Game Of Thrones, The Crown)
Greg Wise (Sense And Sensibility, The Crown, & more recently Military Wives)
Director: Emily Harris (Borges And I, Paragraph)
Corsets and top hats in ye oldey middle England immediately usually conjures images of love, loss, jealousy and Austen. Well Carmilla certainly has some of those elements in it, but replace Austen with Sheridan Le Fanu, and swap Mr Darcey for mysterious vamp Carmilla and you’re pretty much there.
Written around 25 years before Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Sheridan Le Fanu’s novel sees teenage Lara (Hanna Rae) brought up in the English countryside by a pretty distant father (Greg Wise), and a puritan governess in Miss Fontaine (Jessica Raine). Levity and enjoyment are definitely not on Miss Fontaine’s curriculum.
Then one day there is a coach accident, and a young woman (Devrim Lingnau) is brought to the home to recover. Intrigued, Lara soon forms an intense bond with this mysterious stranger, which affects both her morals and her health.
Wonderfully shot by Emily Harris, Carmilla is an intriguing tale of sexual awakening and enlightenment, with a healthy dose of vampirism. Harris plays down the more supernatural elements of the tale to bring a fresh feel to the film, and she is aided by a wonderful turn by Jessica Raine as the puritanical governess, with great turns by youngsters Hanna Rae and Devrim Lingnau.
In A Nutshell:
A refreshing take on the vampire genre, full of repression, sexual awakening and loss of innocence.
Some great performances from the three female leads in particular Jessica Raine as the stern governess.
An interesting take on the vampire trope, dispensing with some of the more supernatural aspects.
The film ends a little too abruptly, following a lengthy build up.