KOTD is a film I consider a great representation of the underlying symbolism of vampirism. The act of sucking blood, one’s life-force, from another person in the hope of immortality has been used throughout history as a direct symbol of sexuality and sex. And in that spirit, Xan has created an absorbing Euro-style throwback thriller, story of familial drama and lustful romance, set between a stunning gothic mansion in the countryside of Connecticut and the darkened streets of New York City. The older, more mature sister Djuna (Joséphine de La Baume) has just started a relationship with a young human, Paolo (played by Milo Ventimiglia) when her wild freewheeling sister Mimi (played by Roxane Mesquida) arrives unannounced.
The film is lensed with a very specific tone and feel – it’s gorgeous and dreamy, but has a sort of sad melancholy to it, the imposing mansion in the field seeming to reinforce Djuna’s self-imposed seclusion. Alternately, Mimi’s character is reflected in her trips to NYC’s gritty, claustrophobic, underground clubs. Their contrasting ideas about life are made clear from the start.
While there is certainly a lot of blood, there isn’t as much gore and violence as a modern-day American horror audience would expect, which I think is a good thing. Instead, the film expands beyond the vampire stereotypes to show a more personal perspective, focusing not only on the primary goal of their survival but of navigating that survival through family and lovers and such.
You shouldn’t be dissuaded by the seemingly straightforward story though -- Xan’s unique style of storytelling and how she chose to visually represent it are quite engaging (as is the heaping spoonful of eye candy, both male and female, in this film which will surely keep your attention if nothing else does.)