Roush Review: AMC’s Seductive ‘Interview With the Vampire’ Has Passionate Bite
“Let the tale seduce you, just as I was seduced,” beckons the dashing, undead Louis de Pointe du Lac (Jacob Anderson) to the jaded journalist (Eric Bogosian) he’s spirited to Dubai in the middle of the pandemic to hear his story. Anyone who’s fallen under Anne Rice’s spell knows what to expect, and AMC’s deluxe series adaptation of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire delivers: supernatural thrills charged with extravagant erotic tension, deep philosophical angst and flowery language befitting a Gothic romance.
Lust mingles with bloodlust when the mercurial ancient vampire Lestat de Lioncourt (Sam Reid) puts his immortal mark on Louis in early-1900s New Orleans, spottily recreated by an unfortunately uneven supporting cast. Thankfully, Anderson (Game of Thrones‘ Grey Worm) holds the screen as the conflicted Louis, then and now. As a Black and (until Lestat reveals his true nature) closeted gay man at the turn of the last century, the ambitious “pleasure house”-owning entrepreneur Louis was already something of an outlier, considering his race and sexuality.
Unburdening himself in the shadow of COVID, Louis in retrospect sees himself as “easy prey for the discerning predator.” Once he succumbs to the drug of vampirism in scenes that scorch the screen just as they did on the page, his feverishly passionate and turbulent union with Lestat only complicates his tormented view of humanity, morality and eternal existence.
When they bring adolescent Claudia (Bailey Bass) into their home in a perverse attempt to create a family unit, things spiral further out of control, with the narcissistic and petulant Lestat losing patience with Claudia’s tantrums and Louis’ stubborn ambivalence toward killing. This is heavy, heady material, so I appreciated lighter grace notes like the visual gag of Louis and Lestat sleeping in separate coffins — as if! — and the trio giggling their way through the influential 1922 silent vampire classic Nosferatu.
Rice’s soulful ghouls defy horror-movie cliché, and I’m now eager to see how AMC fares with Rice’s other opus, the “Lives of the Mayfair Witches” series that began with the unforgettable The Witching Hour. Halloween has come early this year, and I’m not complaining.
Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire, Series Premiere, Sunday, October 2, 10/9c, AMC (also streaming on AMC+)