DEAD & BEAUTIFUL (2021)
The five rich, spoiled Taiwanese twenty-somethings at the heart of DEAD & BEAUTIFUL are suffering from upper class ennui, unsure how to spend their days when so little is expected from them. To spice up their lives, they take turns planning adventures outside of traditional night-out shenanigans. When Anastasia takes the crew on a shamanistic journey into black magic, things don’t go entirely as planned. They wake up with no memory of the night before, shiny new fangs, and a taste for blood. For better or worse, they’ve stumbled across something money can’t buy: eternal life as vampires.
Filled with hazy neon cityscapes, chic clothes, and mesmerizing needle drops, DEAD & BEAUTIFUL is a decadent, excessive, engrossing work of art. It’s the spiritual sibling of ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE, crafted with similarly textural visuals and beautiful characters lounging with the chicest of existential malaise. Where LOVERS explores eternal romance, DEAD & BEAUTIFUL delves into personal identity, exploring five friends who know who they’re supposed to be, but very little about who (or what) they actually are.
Accomplished Dutch director David Verbeek’s experience with photography and commercials is evident in every painterly shot, while his history of successful narrative endeavors allows him to intelligently tell a story about rather unpalatable characters with a satirical edge that makes them magnetically watchable. Trust me, you’ll want to throw on your most velvety smoking jacket and sparkliest heels and allow yourself to sink into the decadence of DEAD & BEAUTIFUL. (LOGAN TAYLOR)