Review: Aeon – The Last Vampyre on Earth / Cert: TBC / Director: Daniel Falicki / Screenplay: Warren Croyle, Ryan Lieske / Starring: April Basile, Daniel Falicki, Chris Eddy / Release Date: TBC
Expectations aren’t likely to be too high for Aeon: The Last Vampyre on Earth, shot on a budget of $1 million and with just one main location and only two cast members dominating the screen for most of its ninety-odd minute running time. But director/actor Falicki isn’t interested in visual wham-bam; his film is a surprisingly gripping two-hander which discusses the nature and purpose of humanity, existential angst, religion and, unless I'm very much mistaken, the chances of Manchester United winning the FA Cup (and I think I very probably am mistaken on that one). This ain’t no action film; this is a movie which uses the idea of one human being and one vampire – the last vampyre, if you will – to consider the meaning of life and the point of it all as they represent the last of their respective species in a world coming to an end. A barrel of laughs it isn‘t.
As some unspecified cataclysm ravages the Earth, Catherine Murnau (Basile) stumbles into a gloomy warehouse which has been the prison of a scorched, crippled creature called Aeon (Falicki). With humanity fallen, Aeon seizes the opportunity to indulge himself by engaging the terrified Murnau in a lengthy, detailed debate about human nature, the meaning of life, the place and purpose of religion in a now Godless, wiped-out world. Murnau, for her part, finds herself defending her dead species and trying to justify Mankind’s existence and the spirit of humanity and all it’s ever believed in and achieved even as the planet falls to pieces around them.
It’s not difficult to imagine Aeon as some low-key agitprop stage production; it’s certainly a script which would lend itself well to the intimacy of live performance and yet, despite its lack of incident and its verbosity, it works well as a movie. There’s always something compelling and fascinating about two people arguing from diametrically opposed viewpoints and never more so than when one of them is a frightened human being and the other is a cynical undead monster which has lived too long and experienced too much. Trapped and decaying, Aeon is never a real threat to Murnau except on an intellectual level; her determination and ability to counter his relentless nihilism and maintain her humanity in the face of his ferocious, desperate hunger and the extinction of her species gives the movie a dynamism and drive which is never dampened by its lack of incident and spectacle. Aeon himself, charred and ruined, is a vampyre torn from our worst Gothic nightmares and even when Murnau tries to quite literally crush his physical essence towards the end of the movie, the last vampyre still won’t surrender to the inevitable. It’s as if he refuses to become extinct until Murnau, the very last human, is gone and the human race is finally no more and his point is proven.
Aeon: The Last Vampyre on Earth deftly defies the limitations of its minuscule budget and presents a bleak and yet potent examination of both the fragility and the enduring strength of the human spirit in the most extreme and fantastical of situations. Wordy, claustrophobic and stifling, Aeon is a vampyre film with real bite and a timely reminder that there’s still more to the undead in the movies than Robert Pattinson’s bloodless antics. One to look out for when it finally materialises in the UK.