When a vampire bites you in New Zealand, does your blood run counterclockwise?
I don't know about that, but I do know that while the Kiwis can make one gorgeous-looking, slick product buoyed by a boatload of CGI, writer/director Glenn Standring sure can't tell a good story.
Perfect Creature presents the idea of an alternate history in which vampires and mortals coexist peacefully in a world called Nuovo Zelandia where there are an awful lot of naked prostitutes and strippers. The vampires are like priests (they all live in big cathedrals, and call themselves The Brotherhood) and in exchange for their benevolence, human beings willingly feed them. Everything's going great until one nonconforming blood-drinker (Leo Gregory) decides he wants to take his nourishment by force.
In order to avoid public panic and perhaps spark a war between the divergent races, a team of secret police (Saffron Burrows, a person; Dougray Scott, a creature) are sent to find and stop him. Not only is Edgar the bad vampire out to drink human blood (and disrobe as many females as he can find), but he's hell-bent on spreading this weird disease that turns people into zombies. Or something like that.
The story is probably better-suited to a graphic novel, but the visuals are easy on the eyes in any medium: the alternative world offers up a visual blend of Victoriana, 1920s, and modern-day hard edges augmented by a heap of pixels, while the music score folds in pleasingly with the dark and gritty feel of the film. The acting is fine, however the characters aren't worth caring for, so that's sort of a moot point. Scott does his level best at brooding (a quality he's already got well in hand), while Burrows more or less paints by the numbers even as (you guessed it), the cop falls for the vamp.
Perfect Creature is a really pretty movie with excellent locations, sets, and cinematography, but it is so mind-numbingly dull only the most thirsty vampire fanatics will want to see how it all winds up. (If you enjoy stories in this vein try Blade, The Breed, or any of the Underworld movies instead.)
The DVD has two featurettes, neither of which goes beyond the superficial "making of" twaddle.
= = =Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson