Written, produced, directed by and starring Juliet Landau, daughter of
actors Martin Landau and Barbara Bain, and who’s probably most famous
for playing Drusilla in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spinoff Angel,
A Place Among The Dead is described on the official press releases as
being “a meld of fact, fiction, and the fantastical – (A Place Among
The Dead) is an exploration of the cultural obsession with vampires and
what they reveal about the human psyche”.
After watching it’s hard to know where fact and fiction actually meld
as it begins with a damming voice over where Landau describes her
parents and her upbringing in a way that would give you the impression
that her childhood was anything but happy. This knocking of her parents
continues throughout the film and is at its most noticeable when
various actors including Gary Oldman and novelist Anne Rice pop up at
random to describe what evil is and as they do photographs of her
parents flash up on the screen.
It’s probably this facet of the film that’s the most interesting but
unfortunately it’s never fully explored only hinted at. As for the rest
of the story, which is filmed to resemble an actual documentary where
Landau plays herself hunting down a serial killer who might be a
At times it’s hard to know if Landau intentionally wants her film to
look amateurish or that’s just the way that it ended up due to some
truly awful acting. I have my suspicions that it might be the later.
Is A Place Among The Dead a fantasy or a journey into a dark place
within Juliet Landau’s mind? In all honestly after watching it I’m
still none the wiser.