While Vampiro isn’t about a vampire, in the literal sense of the word, it’s certainly a film about what Spanish filmmaker Álex Montoya refers to as “emotional vampires”. An alum of the site and no stranger to provocative storytelling (his previous short film Lucas explored issues of pedophilia and absent fathers figures), Montoya’s latest film features a complex villain in a gripping game of cat and mouse.
Set against the backdrop of the highway underpasses surrounding Valencia, a screenwriter picks up a prostitute to research a character for his new script. In an almost exploitative tale of predator and prey, Vampiro explores the emotional cost of an exchange between two strangers that goes well beyond the body.
The moral compass of the story is nothing short of a zigzag of manipulation, that feels blurry at best. As with his previous film, Vampiro stars a complicated antagonist with unclear motives, who lures his subject into a false sense of security to get what he wants.
Impressively performed by actor Jorge Cabrera, there’s something incredibly compelling about what can only be described as the “devil in his eye” – an old expression that explains the carefully crafted cynicism behind Montoya’s character. Throughout this 20-minute two-hander, it becomes quite clear that the screenwriter is nothing short of what Montoya describes as a “soul eater” and the storyline is so captivating you’ll hardly register the runtime.
“I’ve found a couple of them in my life and this short film is my little homage to them,” Montoya explains of these so-called “soul eaters”.
While the film’s narrative surrounds the unveiling of the prostitute’s life story, played by actress Irene Anula (who gives an emotionally charged performance), what truly captivates is how the screenwriter gets it out of her. A lesson in how to create a villain that is human enough to be likable, Vampiro is an impressive character study that will leave you feeling raw.
From short to feature! We are excited to say that Montoya is currently putting the final touches on his feature length version of Lucas and we can’t wait to see what else is in store as he makes the jump into longer narratives.