Lawrence O'Toole
June 07, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Black-and-white cinematography has become so exotic it seems like an altered state of consciousness, which is exactly — and elegantly — what it evokes in Abel Ferrara’s visually stunning vampire movie. As a philosophy doctoral candidate, Lili Taylor gets bitten and wanders Manhattan nightly, feeding indiscriminately and wondering if life, especially eternal life, has meaning. The unremittingly depressing tone sets Ferrara’s film apart from others in the genre but also proves to be its undoing. As undeniably intriguing as it is (and it certainly comes both erotically and hilariously alive during a bloodsucking orgy), The Addiction lacks drama and, well, bite. Like all addictions, the movie is flatly and hopelessly single-minded. B-

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