It's been a few years since the fad of surrealist vampire films was big. Jean Rollin, of course, was a big force in the genre in his heyday, and his sensibility seems to have had a big influence on the producers of Blood for Irina, an almost dialogue free, hallucinatory vampire tale of the big city.
Irina (Shauna Henry) has been a vampire a long time. She spends her nights wandering around the nameless metropolis she lives in, always on the lookout for fresh victims to bring back to her dilapidated motel. There's a problem, though. While she hungrily drains their blood, she can't seem to keep it down. Every night, she exsanguinates another victim, and vomits their life blood back up. She's growing weak, and desperate.
Her faithful companion (David Goodfellow), who remains nameless throughout, slavishly follows after her, cleaning up her messes, pining for her, but never able to really connect. She gets weaker and weaker, never able to slake her thirst. Until she meets Pink (Carrie Gemmell), a prostitute who appears to be in as hopeless a place as Irina. Perhaps these two can find a connection, a reason to go on together. Or perhaps something more macabre is in store.
This may all sound a bit vague, and that's by necessity. With virtually no dialogue, but a gorgeous visual presentation, Blood for Irina is all about style over substance. This plot summary is mostly guesswork, pieced together from what can be gleaned from watching the scenes play out, intercut with flashbacks to Irina's life before vampirism, and the event that turned her.
Luckily, Blood for Irina is enjoyable to watch. Writer / director Chris Alexander does an excellent job keeping the film in a surrealist place, half drug hallucination and half fever dream. The slowly moving camera, interesting setups, and truly impressive locations join together to form a mélange of exotic visual deliciousness. The story is almost just a skeleton to drape the set pieces around.
Be warned, this is a very slow moving film that doesn't directly engage with the viewer plot-wise. It will appeal to a relatively small set of horror fans. If you don't enjoy the films of Jodorowsky, Rollin or at least Jess Franco (though there's no nudity, or really even any sex here), then this will most likely not be the movie for you. For fans of this kind of film, however, Blood for Irina is a treat.
This will be a hard slog for most movie fans, but for the right people it's fantastic. Recommended.
The video is 1.78:1 widescreen, and looks good, for the most part. There is some mild posterization and some murk, mostly during the night time scenes. The daytime scenes look particularly bright and crisp.
Audio is Dolby digital 2 channel, and sounds good, though as stated there is hardly any dialogue. The moody and effective music is presented well, and no hiss or other problem can be heard. French and Spanish subtitles are included. No alternate language track, since that would be mostly pointless.
There are a few extras included. They are: