Brooding, sometimes bleak, thoughtful, occasionally gory, and with a heart-rending emotional impact, this unique film is dominated by the extraordinary and very different performances of the two leads.
To classify this simply as a vampire movie is to seriously misrepresent it. Although the two central characters are immortal and live on human blood (but thankfully no fangs, no sleeping in coffins, no going up in a puff of smoke in the sunlight, and other worn vampire cliches), it is about much, much more. About two women living in a male-dominated world, always on the run from those that would hurt them. About two women stuck in a co-dependent relationship and where this leads (no plot spoilers here!). About what a woman might do to protect her child. About a young woman battling with her contradictory impulses to be alone and to be heard. About survival. And much, much more.
The film is a visual feast. Mundane scenes of a tacky, cold and wet, out-of-season seaside resort are interspersed with powerful images - two women walking across a cabbage field, an insect crawling across Eleanor's face, a waterfall of blood, Eleanor seeing herself across a span of two centuries, a sudden flight of birds. (EDIT: or were they bats? I saw them described as bats on another discussion board, which would make sense for flying creatures emerging from a place of special significance to vampires, but the way they wheel in flight make them look more like birds to me. Whatever, it's still a wonderful and dramatic image.)
Some have criticised Caleb Landry-Jones' "strange" performance as Frank. I didn't see it that way. He portrays a young man mentally scarred by a life-threatening illness. Very convincing, in my opinion. The development of the relationship between two old before their time youngsters, Frank and Eleanor - one of whom is literally old, "16 for ever" - is one of the strengths of the narrative for me.
This film may haunt you for a long time.