February 2002

Reviewed by Wilson Morales


Distributor:Warner Brothers
Director:Michael Rymer
Screenplay:Scott Abbott and Michael Petroni, based on “The Vampire Chronicles” by Anne Rice
Cast:Aaliyah, Stuart Townsend, Marguerite Moreau, Vincent Perez, Paul McGann, and Lena Olin

With “Romeo Must Die” a success, her singing voice in “Anastasia”, and her future appearances in Matrix 2 & 3, Aaliyah’s film career was definitely on the rise. Unfortunately, her life was cut short in a horrific plane crash last year. In “Queen of the Damned”, which was sitting on the shelf for some time, her role is small but significant. Were it not for curiosity considering the circumstances, this adaptation of Anne Rice’s series “The Vampire Chronicles” would probably have gone straight to the video stores, or better MTV. Her appearance keeps us awake long enough to run away before being bitten.

The story centers on the modern era with the vampire Lestat (Stuart Townsend) craving for attention. Using the music industry as his playground, Lestat becomes a rock star and receives star-studded media recognition. This is to the annoyance of his fellow vampires who want to say hidden and dangerous at night. In another part of town, Jesse (Marguerite Moreau), a student, is totally obsessed with Lestat that she tracks down his background to figure him out. Little does she know that she is somehow connected to him. While the other vampires are searching to destroy him, he’s protected by the Queen Akasha (Aaliyah). She has awoken from her deep sleep to offer him a piece of dominance over all. Lestat is torn between his quest for power and his strange affection towards Jesse. What will he do?

This film is better suited for the small screen on MTV, where the music is pretty much the focus. So much of the scenes are shot like a video, it leaves little time for dialogue, and when someone does speak, you want silence. The plot shifts gears back and forth between the present and the past that the film loses its direction. Townsend, who eerily looks like the late Brandon Lee (of THE CROW), is actually quite appealing. He plays Lestat with such fun even though the script fails to give him a dialogue of substance. Aaliyah, with all the curiosity and promotion around her, does add a spark but with no flavor. She prances around with little to do and the title is based on her. Go figure! If one is into heavy metal, this film may be more to their liking since it’s shot like a Metallica video. For a horror film that is supposed to have thrills and lots of gores, one is left feeling they went to see a comedy for all the nonsense there is.


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