Styria (AKA – Angels of Darkness)
“Styria” is a film about Lara (Tomlinson), a young woman who has a troubled past and has recently been expelled for violent behavior. Her father, Dr. Hill (Rea), take her on a sort of psychological retreat to an old castle in Hungary. The castle has been abandoned since the early twentieth century, and Dr. Hill has received funding to go and study murals left on the castle walls by an artist who was a patient there when the castle was used as a healing spa for those with consumption. Soon after their arrival, Lara witnesses a car crash in the nearby woods. A young woman named Carmilla (Pietrucha) survives the accident, and Lara takes her to the castle to care for her. The two quickly become close, and develop a strong bond. When strange, violent things begin to happen in the town nearby, Lara begins to suspect it may have something to do with her new friend.
I have never read the source material for “Styria”, and I knew very little going in. I knew Stephen Rea was in it, and I generally like him. I also knew it was based on a novel, and was considered to be extremely dark and “Gothic” by the few reviews I saw. My opinion is that it is one of the most beautiful and unique “Vampire” films I have ever seen. I liken it to the way I felt when I watched “Let the Right One In”. I knew little going in, so I had no real expectations other than to see a vampire movie that was based on a novel. In both cases I was blown away, but for different reasons. In “Right One”, you were presented with a bleak setting, a touching love story, and a child vampire that was in some ways angelic. In “Styria” the setting is gorgeous, the love between the two is more of a kinship of spirit than a romance, and the condition of vampirism is far different than ever depicted before. They do share similarities in feeling, and both are extremely well acted and beautifully shot.
That is all I really want to say, because I think any lover of dark or psychological films should watch “Styria”. It is well-crafted and everyone involved deserves an applause. When you get the chance, see “Styria”.