Reviews | Written by Andrew Pollard 19/06/2018

THE ADDICTION

Originally released back in 1995, The Addiction is the next Abel Ferrara effort to get a swanky new 4K release from Arrow Video following 2016’s re-release of Ferrara’s notorious Driller Killer. And as ever where Arrow’s releases are concerned, this one’s crammed full of bonus features.

In terms of its premise, The Addiction is a twisted vampiric effort that’s unlike any bloodsucking film you’ve ever seen. The Conjuring’s Lili Taylor plays philosophy student Kathleen, who finds herself bizarrely bitten by Annabella Sciorra’s Casanova in the opening act. Soon becoming extremely ill, Kathleen realises that’s something’s not quite right once she starts to get a thirst for blood. After this “addiction” begins to spiral out of control, it takes a meeting with Christopher Walken’s zen-like Paina for Kathleen to start to question herself and her choices.

Director Abel Ferrara has always been one to split opinion, but there’s absolutely no disputing that The Addiction is his most stylish film to date. The screenplay from longtime Ferarra collaborator Nicholas St John takes a true staple of genre cinema – the vampire – and puts a completely fresh spin on it. The end result is a chilling, atmospheric, multi-layered movie that is full of philosophical questions and social commentary. Ferrara may be best known for the infamous Driller Killer and for the Walken-headlined King of New York, but The Addiction is his most complete film.

Utilizing a black and white colour scheme to add an added layer to St John’s script, Ferrara’s movie is only further boosted by the performances of its key figures. Lili Taylor – largely just known for Mystic Pizza at the time of the effort’s ’95 release – is stunning, putting in an anchoring performance that is everything that the film’s narrative needs her to be as her Kathleen is on a dark and murky roller coaster throughout the tale. To say that this is a one-performance picture would be hugely unfair on the rest of The Addiction’s cast, it’s just that the focus is so heavily and constantly on Kathleen and her journey. That said, Annabella Sciorra and Christopher Walken are fantastic in their minimal and totally opposing roles. Make no mistake though, this is utterly and totally Lili Taylor’s movie and she truly puts in a career-best turn here.

In terms of the special features included here, that’s often one of the main attractions of Arrow releases of the past few years – and The Addiction doesn’t disappoint on this front, either. The brand new interview with Abel Ferrara captures the fascinating Ferrara in all his glory; at times letting the conversation flow with a natural ease, at other times verging on irritated. Similarly, the audio commentary is a must-listen, even if it has been included on previous releases of The Addiction. One other piece of marvellous new material, though, is the Talking with the Vampires documentary, which sees input from Ferrara, Lili Taylor, and Christopher Walken.

Finally, the 4K transfer is crystal clear and only further helps the black and white nature of the movie jump out from the screen. Simply put, The Addiction – a film that has always looked great – has never looked better. Throw in some truly brilliant bonus content, and you have a release that genre fans and Ferrara fans will be chomping at the bit to sink their teeth into.

Special Features: Audio commentary by Abel Ferrara / Brand new Talking with the Vampires documentary / New interviews with Abel Ferrara and Brad Stevens / Abel Ferrara Edits The Addiction featurette / Trailer / Illustrated collectors’ booklet

THE ADDICTION / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: ABEL FERRARA / SCREENPLAY: NICHOLAS ST JOHN / STARRING: LILI TAYLOR, CHRISTOPHER WALKEN, ANNABELLA SCIORRA, EDIE FALCO / RELEASE DATE: JUNE 25TH

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