Gymnopedie’s review published on Letterboxd:
Myths do not die, they just get transformed. Today I talk about The Addiction. And so ends this most interesting film, vampirism is transplanted to a harsh modern urban setting as a metaphor for addiction, religion and redemption. The vampire legend, that is so rich in metaphor and symbolism, has never been treated with such intellectual depth and biting social criticism. The modern vampire sub-genre in my opinion works best in real harsh urban environments, with limited action scenes, that relies more on existentialism. I feel vampire movies are dime a dozen and offer little in the way of originality and imagination so it is always refreshing to me to see a vampire flick that attempts to bring new ideas into the exhausted sub-genre. The Addiction has all this and more!
Kathleen Conklin (played by Lili Taylor), a New York University grad student, is bitten one night by a female vampire (Annabella Sciorra), from there she emerges with a new found pessimism views of society and the world, from which she drew from her years as a philosophy student. She has this uncontrollable and insatiable craving for human blood - an addiction. Cinematographed in glorious black-and-white and the brilliant use of New York City gives it some resemblances to Taxi Driver - that wonderful grittiness, that inner turmoil, but as a vampire film. The scenes of the murders, such as the party for the grad school committee is pretty unsettling because the film appears so realistic. It doesn't rely on too much gore or special effects, which just proves that great storytelling is not reliant on special effects.
The wonderful black-and-white cinematography really added to the brooding and gritty tone, as did the excellent performance by Lili Taylor, who gives an absorbing performance as the brooding, articulate and haunting grad student turned vampire, Kathleen Conklin. Christopher Walken is excellent as usual as the wise and weary vampire-cum- mentor. Nicholas St. John is responsible for concocting one of the most original screenplays on vampirism in the last 30 years. Abel Ferrara is the conductor who is accountable for bringing us this unusual vampire tale where it is rare for philosophy and horror to collide but they collide to great effect. Ken Kelsch's gorgeous black and white photography is is a key element in the plot and is worth applauding. Also, there is great use of Cypress Hill's "I Wanna Get High", which is heard a few times during the film .
It might not be everybody's cup of tea. The intellectual philosophic tone and the many philosophical-musings might be considered pretentious to some but it can really grow on the viewer with time. A highly moody piece of film-making that is so disturbing and realistic, that it almost feels like a documentary at times. Vampirism as a metaphor for addiction. I recommend this movie to everybody I know at any opportunity I can. It is one not to be missed just for the its pure originality and its attempts to bring new ideas into the exhausted sub-genre. My favorite vampire flick.