FANTASTIC FEST: Dead & Beautiful (2021)

A group of five young and wealthy friends has gathered to attend the funeral of one of their number but it’s all a ruse. The group seems to have done this before — what are they the cast of the Full Moon movie Prison of the Dead? — so they all head off to the forest for a camping excursion. Yet while they’re there, a shaman approaches them all. By the morning, the magician is dead, they all have fangs and everything is changed forever.

Each of the five friends must now consider who they are in this new world. Will they hide their vampiric sides from the world? Will they become monsters? Or, as the children of the obscenely rich whose lives were simply a series of adventures up until now, have they always been somewhat horrible creatures?

The best part of director David Verbeek’s film is the gorgeous neon-lit world of Taiwan, which offers an “anything is permitted” vista for the characters. Verbeek’s commercial work comes to play here, making this look like — at times — an extended commercial for just how wonderful it would be to make the night eternal forever.

You can stream Dead & Beautiful exclusively on Shudder.

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