Embrace of the Vampire (2013) poster

Embrace of the Vampire (2013)


Canada. 2013.


Director – Carl Bessai, Screenplay – Andrew Erin & Sheldon Roper, Based on a Story by Alan Mruvka, Producer – John Prince, Photography – Bob Aschmann, Music – Michael Neilson, Animation/Visual Effects – GFZ Studios Inc. (Supervisors – Geoffrey Antony & Christian Blaze), Special Effects Supervisor – Bleau Fortier & Mike Walls, Makeup Effects – Lindala Schminken FX Inc., Production Design – Tony Devenyi. Production Company – Reel One Entertainment.


Sharon Hinnendael (Charlotte Hawthorn), Victor Webster (Professor Cole/Stefan), Ryan Kennedy (Chris), Tiio Horn (Nicole), C.C. Sheffield (Eliza), Robert Moloney (Dr John Duncan), Chelsea Marie Reist (Sarah Campbell), Keegan Connor Tracy (Daciana), Olivia Cheng (Kelly)


Charlotte Hawthorn receives a fencing scholarship to university and moves into share a dorm room with Nicole. The innocent Charlotte gets a job at a local coffee bar. The manager Chris asks her out. Charlotte begins having troubling dreams about vampires and blood drinking. At the same time, Charlotte’s fencing instructor Professor Cole also happens to be a vampire who has been waiting for her.

Carl Bessai is a director with a celebrated oeuvre within Canada (less so outside of it). His films include the likes of Unnatural & Accidental (2006), Normal (2007), Mothers & Daughters (2008), Cole (2009), Fathers & Sons (2010), Sisters & Brothers (2011), No Clue (2013), Bad City (2014), Rehearsal (2015) and The Lears (2017). Bessai has dabbled in the genre material a number of times with the zombie film Severed (2005) and the timeloop film Repeaters (2010).

Embrace of the Vampire is a remake of The Nosferatu Diaries: Embrace of the Vampire (1995), which starred Alyssa Milano as an innocent university student who is seduced by her vampire professor. The original largely consisted of a series of erotic scenes featuring an undressed Milano. However, by the time of Embrace of the Vampire, the erotic element has been dropped.

Certainly, there are still assorted scenes of people having sex, while most of the women in the cast get topless at various points. The film seems to exist in an unrated cut, although I am unable to find any record of the release of any version of the film that was cut. Despite this, there are not the extended softcore scenes of people tumbling in embrace – at most, we get a few brief love scenes. The one oddity is that while the first film was built up around the heroine’s seduction by the professor, this is something that never occurs here.

Sharon Hinnendael as Charlotte in Embrace of the Vampire (2013)
Sharon Hinnendael as Charlotte, the equivalent role played by Alyssa Milano in the original

That leaves Embrace of the Vampire as just being a regular vampire film at which it is fairly thin on the ground. What it feels like is more a mundane work about an innocent going to university and being caught up between various men and women desiring her and a party lifestyle. Although there are a few scenes with Victor Webster preying on victims and drinking blood, there are far more scenes with Sharon Hinnendael having dreams about vampires than there are actual scenes involving vampires doing vampire-like things.

It takes an awfully long time for Sharon Hinnendael to work out that her professor is a vampire – well over two-thirds of the film. During this time, the focus is on the mundane stuff of her on various dates, going to bed with a girl, while others around her seem to act jealous and so on. The first film had a plot about the professor needing to feast before returning to his coffin and fixating on Alyssa Milano. This tosses in new plot elements with hints about bloodstones and Sharon having a hereditary blood condition. At the end, the professor says he has been waiting for Sharon, but there is nothing to indicate why he has such an interest in her in particular.

It is worth noting that in between both versions of Embrace of the Vampire, there was Twilight (2008) and the whole associated teen vampire phenomenon. You could almost construe this version as a grown-up Twilight where the heroine is caught between men, women and vampire-kind, while much of the heated sexuality that was burbling beneath the surface of the Twilight films is brought (somewhat) out into the open.

Trailer here

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