The Hunger (1983)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Erotic Drama  |   Run Time - 99 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Jason Buchanan

Though undeniably an exercise in style over substance from the opening frames, Tony Scott's languid exercise in gothic vampirism may disappoint those with little patience for arty overindulgence, though those with a taste for slow-burning decay may find The Hunger an involving study in the desperation for love and eternal youth. Vampire enthusiasts and Anne Rice followers drawn to the more romantic aspects of the mythology will likewise succumb to Catherine Denuve's seductive menace and David Bowie's otherworldly charismatic performance, with Susan Surandon offering a compelling turn as a doctor drawn in to the dark underworld while attempting to halt the vampiric Bowie's rapidly accelerated aging process. The distinctly seductive trio certainly makes for an interesting screen presence if nothing else, and despite frequent long stretches in which little is happening in terms of action, they are consistently compelling to watch. The scenes in which Bowie withers away into old age are rendered especially chilling given not only the actor's slowed and cautious mannerisms, but in some effectively convincing make-up by Dick Smith and co. In his feature directorial debut, Tony Scott had yet to develop a fully realized sense of storytelling, though by throwing out most preconceived notions of vampirism and focusing on the intense eroticism often merely hinted at in the majority of mainstream efforts, his inexperience actually benefits the film in terms of providing an eerily disconnected tone. Though the film does include an ample amount of bloodletting, the action here nevertheless flows like frozen molasses, a fact that may well leave many viewers with a hunger of their own.