Better known for her role as psychopathic vampire Drusilla in the popular fantasy series Buffy Vampire Slayer, writer-director Juliet Landau delivers a rather disappointing first feature in A Place Among The Dead. The film is part factual, part fiction and purports to be an exploration of the modern cultural obsession with vampires.
Landau – daughter of Hollywood legend Martin Landau (Mission: Impossible) and actress Barbara Bain – plays a fictional version of herself as a director making a documentary about vampires. Her story more specifically focuses on Darcel, a supposedly undead serial killer known for making vividly coloured paintings of his victims.
Best selling author Anne Rice (The Vampire Chronicles) and Buffy and Angel creator Joss Whedon also play fictional versions of themselves as vampire experts. Elsewhere, Oscar winner Gary Oldman, Hell Boy star Ron Perlman and British author and film critic Kim Newman – a man who knows a thing or two about vampires – all provide some expertise on the subject.
A Place Among The Dead delves into the world of the undead all the while trying to explain the fascination behind it. The film also provides an interesting insight into why some people take their obsession with vampires to extremes all the while exploring the lighter side of vampiric representation on screen and in literature.
Overall, the filmoften feels like a series of half-baked ideas thrown together in the hope that some of them would stick. Narratively flawed, tone-deaf and at times deeply muddled, this first directorial outing for Landau is neither earth-shattering nor is it wholly coherent. Put simply, it just isn’t very good and no amount of big names attached to it could have saved this movie from being almost instantly forgettable.