Vampire in Brooklyn ★★½

A horror-comedy that is at its best when it is leaning separately toward either horror or comedy but not both, Wes Craven's "Vampire in Brooklyn" gives its audience Eddie Murphy at the peak of his influence in Hollywood but not the peak of his talent. A watchable film that feels like a vanity project, there are some laughs and some gore but nothing else remarkable.

Revolving around a vampire who is searching for a half-vampire mate to ensure his own survival, "Vampire in Brooklyn" finds Eddie Murphy's undead Maximillian traveling to New York to begin his search. There he meets a cadre of colorful characters, including Angel Bassett's police woman. There is a touch of romance to go along with the comic and horrific hijinks, but none of it is very memorable.

An artificially misty atmosphere pervades the film which bears a plastic aesthetic heightening its goofy qualities but not its darkness. Murphy is adequate, though he shines when he is allowed moments of subtle charm as opposed to his low-key, hammed-up vampire. With shades of "Coming to America," he performs a handful of other characters under heavy prosthetics. These characters add little to the film besides giving Murphy the opportunity to be grating.

Still, the film is kind of fun, and it is kind of a serviceable vampire film. It just is not enough of either to be appealing. Had it focused it energies in one direction over the other, it may have worked. There are glimpses of this focus, but they are too few to make in impact.

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