What’s life like when you’re young, flawlessly attractive, and have more money than you know what to do with? In America, you become a social media influencer and maybe get a reality show. In the world of sleek new horror thriller Dead & Beautiful, your quest to feel alive might just be the thing that transforms you into a blood-sucking monster that will never die.
At least, that’s the impression given by the film’s new trailer, which introduces us to a group of friends who spend their days and nights slinking around in fancy clothes, driving shiny cars, and just generally trying to be as risqué and shocking as possible in order to feel any emotion whatsoever. It’s not entirely clear how it happens, but one day, suddenly...they’re all seemingly vampires?
This doesn’t come up in the trailer, but you have to wonder: how do you admire your perfect outfit and hairstyle if you can’t even see your reflection? Here’s the official summary for Dead & Beautiful: “In Dead & Beautiful, five rich, spoiled Asian twenty-somethings (Gijs Blom, Aviis Zhong, Yen Tsao, Philip Juan, Anechka Marchenko) are suffering from upper class ennui, unsure how to spend their days when so little is expected from them. In search of excitement, the five friends form the ‘Circle,’ a group where they take turns designing a unique, extravagant experience for the others. But things go wrong when the privileged urbanites awaken after a night out, to find they have developed vampire fangs and an unquenchable thirst for flesh, blood, and adventure at any price.”
The characters might be fairly unlikeable (“upper class ennui,” poor you!) but that feels deliberate in this context, which looks to be leaning into the stylish glamour factor rather than a storyline with deep substance. But when a film looks this full of eye candy (and potentially...knowingly campy?), it’s hard not to be intrigued. Written and directed by David Verbeek, Dead & Beautiful will play Fantastic Fest in Austin, TX on September 25 before arriving November 4 on Shudder in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.
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