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Interview with the Vampire: AMC Show Review

Interview with the Vampire AMC series promo still

AMC show Interview with the Vampire is a reworking of Anne Rice’s novel for the modern age, featuring one of the most human interpretations of vampires yet.

Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire has returned to the small screen after almost 30 years. Following on from the success of the novels and the cult 1994 film starring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise, AMC revamped the story in 2022, and it was later acquired by the BBC. The 2022 series follows a similar plot to both the novel and the film, but there are still welcome changes given that it has been nearly 30 years since the film’s release, and almost 50 from the initial book’s release.

The series takes place across two time periods: modern day Dubai, where main character Louis De Pointe Du Lac (Jacob Anderson) now resides, and early 1900s New Orleans, specifically the Storyville neighborhood during the time of widespread prohibition and Jim Crow laws. We are introduced to the interviewer, who in the series benefits from being more fleshed out than the film, Daniel Malloy (Eric Bogosian), a once relevant journalist who we learn previously attempted to  interview Louis when starting his career in 1973 – an interaction which did not end well.

This is the second time this interview has been attempted, something which reveals itself to be a key fact later in the series establishing Louis as an unreliable narrator. Once the interview begins, we are teleported back to 1920s New Orleans, where Louis recalls his life before his first meeting with Lestat De Lioncourt (Sam Reid), and what led to his transformation. The plot continues to whisk us through the extravagant lives of Louis and Lestat, as Louis’ underground business booms and he climbs the social ladder.

In the novel, Louis is a white plantation owner, but the show opts to change this, instead we are given a Louis who is a Black business owner running an underground business. There is an exploration of this in the series that the original novels and film obviously do not have. Louis, while a successful business man with a level of social mobility he has worked for, is still seen as inferior by those he has worked to be around. The dynamic is furthered with the introduction of Lestat and his interactions with characters other than Louis, the wealthy foreign aristocratic dandy who saunters into the spaces that Louis has had to work his way into. Louis’s transformation now carries more weight in the show than it did previously: being turned into a vampire makes him more than human, but he is still seen as less than human by those around him in the Jim Crow Era South. It’s a bold change to make, but it pays off, adding a rich extra layer to both the characters and the world in which the story takes place.

loud and clear reviews Interview with the Vampire amc Jacob Anderson as Louis De Point Du Lac standing outside a door
Jacob Anderson as Louis De Point Du Lac in Interview with the Vampire (Alfonso Bresciani / AMC)

The show’s plot runs somewhat smoothly, melodrama and murder aside, until the introduction of Claudia (Bailey Bass), who introduces the largest conflict into the plot. Among the talented cast, Bass stands out with her portrayal of a slightly aged up Claudia, who in the series is fifteen, opposed to five, as she was in the novel and previous film. The fifteen year old is one of the show’s most compelling characters, doomed to forever look fifteen while she ages mentally. Her complexities feel endless and lead to some of the show’s most climatic and shocking moments. Bass completely embodies the role of a teen vampire as she goes from reveling in her new life to despising the physical limits it has doomed her with.

Once Claudia is introduced to the show, we switch from Louis’ point of view to Claudia’s through Daniel’s reading of her diaries, which in 2022, Louis still has possession of. We flash between the modern day interview and Claudia’s recounts of New Orleans as the plot reaches its boiling point in the relationship of Louis and Lestat. This is the point at which the show benefits most from its dual narrative structure; the tension builds in both the past and the present, with Claudia coming between Louis and Lestat in the past and Louis and Daniel in the present. It is evident that Daniel begins questioning Louis’ reliability now that he is seeing a different point of view into the relationship. Until now, our understanding of the relationship dynamic between Louis and Lestat had been swayed by Louis’ retelling; Claudia’s diaries recount an abusive manipulative situation that Louis’ has somewhat downplayed. 

Not only is Interview with the Vampire an absolutely mesmerizing take on a story that has been adapted before and is clearly well loved by many fans, but it’s a unique portrayal of a supernatural creature we have seen time and time again. Interview with the Vampire presents to us one of the most human interpretations of vampires yet. The show prioritizes the psychological experience of being turned into an undead over to the physical element that so many other portrayals have opted for. While the vampires in the AMC series feature most of the typical vampire traits – bloody drinking, an adverse reaction to the sun and superspeed, these vampires can also stop time and telepathically communicate with each other.

Lestat presents a vampire who’s too far gone and completely disconnected from humanity. This clashes with Louis’ struggle to leave his humanity behind, as he tries his best to maintain his relationship with his family and later establishes morals around his consumption of blood. Claudia functions as a median between the two: at first she is willing to lean into the animalistic violent nature that Lestat perpetuates and let go of her humanity, but as the series progresses, Claudia begins to turn against her eternal life and the one who gave it to her. Realizing that she will never age, and therefore feeling that she will never love and be loved, she tries to run away multiple times but always finds herself returning to the toxic dynamic of the three vampires.

The series has everything that fans of the book and the 1994 adaptation could have wished for. Even with the changes, Interview with the Vampire continues to be captivating to old and new audiences. Anderson and Reid act as if these were roles they had spent their entire careers anticipating. There are moments of drama, melancholy, comedy, violence, and a few scenes that make the 1994 film look like it was made in the days of the hays code. This makes the series stand out when compared to any other shows of a similar nature. This range within Interview with the Vampire also makes it evident that the actors truly, no pun intended, sunk their teeth into their roles, and deliver portrayals which are enthralling to watch.

Season 1 of AMC show Interview with the Vampire is now available to watch on digital and on demand. Season 2 will be released on AMC and AMC+ in 2024.

Interview with the Vampire: Trailer (AMC)
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