Theresa & Allison (2019)

Theresa, a newly turned vampire finds help from charming Allison as she doesn’t know how to navigate her new truth and hunger. As she discovers more and more about real vampires, she soon finds out that these vampires are not all romance and long dresses.

Written by Charles D. Lincoln and directed by Jeremiah Kipp, Theresa & Allison is an interesting take on a vampire society living in plain sight in New York City with a group of characters who all run on the darker side of things while being interconnected like a family. This family has issues, serious issues, but works for most of them with a system for meeting each other, feeding, and survival without getting caught.  The film takes on this in a manner that makes the subject of vampires feel fresh and fun again. The film and its delivery are dark and moody, but there is plenty of humor for those preferring it served dark as their souls. The film here mixes humor and the horrors of vampire survival along with stories of humanity in all its glory and its evil, giving each vampire their own personality, their own way to cope with how they must feed, and their own aspirations. Here the characters come off as human in a many that most lower budget vampire films often cannot achieve. The writing is strong and creates these characters and their situation and the directing brings it to the screen in a manner that is just about perfect for it. The film has a somber ton mostly, but with some fun here and there, giving it levity and something to grasp onto while going along with Theresa as she discovers her new self and what she is willing to do to survive.

The lead of Theresa is played with great talent by Arielle Hope who takes the emotionally tortured character and gives her humanity no matter in what situations or how deep she gets in with her new brethren. Hope’s performance anchors the film in a reality that only she can sell. Her work here is powerful at times and vulnerable at others, giving her character many facets to work with and a complex personality that makes the viewer want to see her evolve and see her make it. Playing Allison is Sarah Schoofs who is more exuberant in her own way, giving her character a bit of a more in your face personality. She creates a great counterpart for Hope’s Theresa. Her lack of struggle with her lifestyle, her full acceptance of the vampire way make her the perfect character to bring Theresa in.  The two of them take over any scene they are in and the attention sticks to them. The rest of the cast is very good as well, with standout performances coming from Amy Jo Jackson as Sakkara, Alexandra Frantsevich as Paisley, and Victoria Clare as Aurora Nightshade, each for different reasons, each being fun to watch.

Theresa & Allison is a film with a distinctive look to it as it has a dark aura of sort over everything that goes on. The cinematography by Christopher Bye makes great use of the locations and the city, showing just enough of every spot used to give a feel of the city as viewed by Theresa. The framing seem to be carefully done, but the lighting has a few issues here and there with some scenes woefully under-lit while other scenes have lighting that seems to come from odd locations and that gives off an impression that it was not fully planned with how it shows on screen and how it bounces off the leads. A bit more attention to details on the lighting front would have given this film a fantastically dark and gloomy look to go with the story and the characters.

Theresa & Allison is a moody film that connects on an emotional level while giving a new view on vampires that brings more than just a few ideas to the table, but also a way of presenting them. Yes, some of those ideas have been seen before (think Modern Vampires for a more upbeat version of some of the ideas), but the way they are used here makes for a movie that is easy to watch and entertaining. The film has a few issues like the aforementioned lighting, but the performances, writing, and directing make up for them.