Anyone who wants to make a vampire movie should look at this movie’s cinematography for inspiration. The lighting is basically perfect: all the rooms are cold and shadowy, but everything you need to see is clearly framed by strong light pouring through the windows, suggesting a warmer and more inviting world outside that’s encroaching on their den of iniquity. It has the sort of texture you see most often in black and white movies, which is great for a movie about blood suckers, because when you see a bright red it really pops. It has the feel of a noir – there’s a lot of window blinds casting shadows on prone bodies – but the plot is unlike the detective stories of yore that it doesn't feel like a generic knock-off.
But, unfortunately, there are some aspects that aren’t quite timeless. The truly excessive number of curtains billowing in the wind in the vampire's abode make this film feel like a music video from 1983. All the sex scenes – but particularly the lesbian sex scene – are in soft focus and there’s constant whipping of lace, like they were having a rendezvous in a drape factory (which is the sexiest place for the undead to conjugally congregate, I guess.) The film is much more competent at creating a foreboding mood than it is at creating a sexy one.
In the beginning of the film all of the pieces click together to create a perfectly cold mood, with the perfect casting of Catherine Deneuve as an ice queen, to the sparsely decorated marble-floored settings, to the pacing, which hits the right mixture of languid and hurried for immortal creatures that get overtaken by bloodlust... So the film's late stumbling into soft core is a big bummer, spoiling the mood with a touch of cheesiness the movie definitely didn’t need. But that said, an over abundance of curtains has never cost me a victory before, so I have to vote in favor of the early ambiance over the later trashiness.