Addiction, The

Director: Abel Ferrara

Kathleen (Lili Taylor), a philosophy student preoccupied with Sartre, Kierkegaard, the Holocaust and My Lai, is attracted by a stranger in a dark New York alley. He bites her, and it’s not some sexy ‘Gary Oldman’s Dracula’ love-nip. It’s awful. She loses her appetite, begins to stay indoors all day, shoots up hypodermic syringes full of blood and wears black clothes and sunglasses after dark. She becomes half-vampire, half-junkie. She starts to prey on the professors and students of the philosophy faculty. Her own philosophy becomes Do unto others before they do it to you. Then she meet Peina (Christopher Walken), the William Burroughs of vampires, who tells her Never forget, you’re not a person – you’re nothing. His treatment of her demonstrates that hip nihilism has a way of becoming all too real. You’ve read Beckett. What did you think it was? Fiction?
An extraordinary combination of high pretentiousness and gutter art, The Addiction culminates in a graduation ceremony that turns into an orgy of bloodsucking, followed by an unequivocal redemption through the Catholic faith. A typical Abel Ferrara movie, in fact, but one that even his fans may disagree about. None can deny, however, that it’s one of the few truly disturbing horror films of the last few years. It’s driven, linear narrative and grainy black and white cinematography give it an underground, out-of-control feel that’s reminiscent of Ferrara’s early, disreputable features, Driller Killer and Ms. .45 – Angel of Vengeance. Lili Taylor is excellent, and the Walken cameo is, even by his elevated standards, truly eccentric.

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