The good things about this feature are basically the most troublesome aspects of it as well. Are Undead is self assured in its status as an well informed, intelligent picture. But just like people who are of that opinion regarding themselves, the film comes off as a series of smug vignettes lauding each actor’s physical beauty and assumed acting talents.
In New York, second rate actors are still better looking than most people walking around the country. That’s not a big deal, but toss in models doubling as actors really doesn’t work out even if the performances here aren’t atrocious.
Playing one of the main character’s ex-kinda-girlfriend, Anna, is Devon Aoki, the daughter of Benihana’s founder Rocky and sister of the guy who runs Dim Mak Records. The connections expressed simply through this women’s appearance in the film is ostensibly a personal version of what this film feels like.
There was probably some clever dude able to talk some rich guy into bankrolling the whole thing, tagging Ralph Macchio as a tongue in cheek, top biller. The entire thing just seems ridiculous. And toss in the fact that Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern plot is augmented by a series of scenes explaining that some of these folks are vampires makes the feature just seem like a high school, one off work.
It’s still meticulously produced.
As the main character, Julian, who lives in his father’s office, runs through a succession of one nighters chasing the love he felt for Aoki’s character. Of course, since he’s still saddled with puppy dog love for the aspiring actress, he occasionally does errands for her.
That all leads to Aoki’s character being granted a part in a play Julian’s set to direct. Granted, the whole thing’s a hoax perpetuated by vampires attempting to turn more folks to the undead life style. But that doesn’t seem to damper the play within a film.
Surely, there’re some Shakespeare references that slip by casual viewers – like me. And that’s worthy of appreciation. It’s just that Are Undead doesn’t arrive as a feature anyone’s going to watch seriously or more than once. But I’m sure there were people dismissing Shakespeare as tripe when he first showed up as well.