The only thing that “Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?”has in common with the 1996 original, besides the title, is Tori Spelling. This new version features lesbian vampires (Dude!) with a curiously flexible standard when it comes to the male of the species. (More on this later.)
Not too dissimilar to the German vampire film Wir Sind Die Nacht (We Are the Night) this tale of small town vamps is also about a finite sized group of all female Nosferatu’s. Unlike the German horror film, these lesbian vampires are slowly adding to their number. (In We Are the Night, the fanged group reluctantly increase their number by one.)
James Franco, perhaps the busiest man in Hollywood, produced and provided a story for the re-imagining of this tale. He also plays a cameo role as the drama teacher/professor. Amber Coney directed and wrote the screenplay for “Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?” and she also played one of the goth-chic vampires.
The film looks at the sexuality of Bram Stoker’s original tale about the count and how it is still all about exchanging bodily fluids. Focusing not on the homoeroticism but a band of 20 something lesbian vampires who kill men who “abuse” women.
In one scene a date rape is about to transpire and the vampires swoop in to save the innocent girl and drain the miscreant dry. Later in the film; history repeats itself but with a very different outcome.
What is interesting about the film, apart from its PG-13 lovemaking between Pearl (Emily Meade) and Leah (Leila George), is that it challenges gender roles across the board. Franco’s drama professor chooses Leah to play the man who would be king in the “Scottish Play.”
Apart from serving to be somewhat progressive, as pointed out by Rolling Stone, this re-casting of the lead role allows for what could have been a love interest to become homophobic and bitter. (Herein lies the only bone of contention with the entire film. Bob -played by Nick Eversman – changes, in the blink of an eye, from a lovesick crush to a roofie dropping rapist. Thus proving what every feminist has been saying for years, “all men are rapists waiting to happen.” Seriously?)
SPOILER ALERT – If you have not watched the movie yet skip the next two paragraphs. A’ight?
The object of this second attempted date rape is Leah, whom Bob has “crushed on” from the start of the film. She is rescued by the vampires and in the ensuing fracas he escapes being bled dry and “changes.”
Later the male wannabe rapist is accepted wholeheartedly into the little group of vampires without question. They even go partying later. Cue confusion and disbelief from the viewing audience of one.
There is a thread of “true love conquers all” in the love affair between Pearl the vampiric photographer and Leah the danger loving gal .(Who does not ask her mother permission to sleep with her lesbian lover. )
In the film there is a certain amount of claret (blood) splashed about but not copious amounts, this is, after all, Lifetime inspire of the side-boob shots and simulation of sex. The final battle does include some gore but nothing to send the viewer into shock.
“Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?” ends on a bit of a flat note and I do not believe for an instant that it is a clever as Rolling Stone believes. At best it is a re-write of an older Lifetime “classic” that has been “sexed up” and used the vampire myth to facilitate the more modern take on young love.
Overall the film is slow paced and tends to drag in too many places. The classroom scenes all look and sound authentic; helping to authenticate the setting and give one a sense of place. It still entertains although is could have moved a bit faster pace wise.
Tori Spelling leaves her recent reality show presence behind and is actually very convincing as the mum who is shocked to the core that her daughter loves another woman. As Leah’s single parent she even manages to convey those mixed feelings of love and protection that one has for any child, however surprised they are at their life choices.
“Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?” is a solid 3.5 star TV movie. It aired on Lifetime on 18, June and will undoubtably air on LMN shortly after. An interesting film that is definitely worth a look.