Tuesday, January 17, 2012

'Meridian' is pure gothic romance

Meridian (1990)
Starring: Sherilynn Fenn, Malcolm Jamieson, Hilary Mason, Charlie Spradling, and Phil Fondecaro
Director: Charles Band
Rating: Seven of Ten Stars

A young woman (Fenn) returns to Italy to claim the castle and title that is her family heritage... but at the same time she claims the family curse.

I'm not sure why it's titled "Meridian," but this is perhaps the most pure cinematic gothic romance in a modern setting that I've ever seen.

None of the acting is particularly remarkable, but no one is awful. The film is a bit slow-moving, but every scene is well-staged and dripping with mood. In fact, there are few movies that so dedicatedly click the boxes of "dark gothic romance content" as this one. Because it's so faithful to all the various genre conventions, it's a bit predictable... but this is as much a weakness as it is a strength. "Meridian" is like that favorite sweater or that favorite kind of ice cream. There are no surprises left in it, but the familiarity is part of the enjoyment.

If you're a fan of gothic romance (including the "gothic fantasy" that was the hallmark of the Ravenloft game line I used to work on), I think you'll enjoy this film.

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