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“Sensual, poetic, dark, and gothic, Carmilla eclipses Twilight in every aspect.” (Film Threat) The danger and thrill of forbidden desire pervades vampire lore. Carmilla is set on a secluded country estate where Lara, all of 15, lives with her father and strict governess. Late one evening, another young girl, Carmilla, arrives after a mysterious carriage crash, and Lara soon finds herself strangely drawn to her in this atmospheric rendering of Le Fanu’s classic 1872 novella.
“Like Le Fanu, [director Emily] Harris’s keen sense for Gothic atmosphere is both sumptuous and menacing, often relying on the power of suggestion to build the tension around Carmilla’s true identity and purpose. Her use of gauzy, almost impressionist, light is particularly effective, imbuing the film with a diffuse and watery texture, as is the distinctive colour palette, which trades between daytime pastels and washed-out earth tones and a candlelit tenebrism that evokes Derek Jarman’s and Peter Greenaway’s period films Caravaggio and Nightwatching and Lucile Hadžihalilović’s Innocence. …Harris’s Carmilla is perhaps one of the most febrile, inventive and truest in spirit to Le Fanu’s original story… Her Carmilla is neither a succubus nor a sex kitten, but a spirited young woman whose embodiment of nature and sapphic desire makes her into a queer feminist, and, thus, a monster to be villainized and othered in the eyes of the patriarchy. "(The Times Literary Supplement)