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Film / Perfect Creature

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Perfect Creature is a Steampunk vampire movie from 2007, taking place in an Alternate Universe where 300 years ago, male babies were mysteriously born as vampires. They were revered as a Supernatural Elite known as "Brothers" that peacefully co-exist with humans. This delicate balance looks to be destroyed when an influenza epidemic begins to sweep the human population and one vampire turns to preying on humans. The church sends out Silus (Dougray Scott) to catch the renegade vampire, Edgar. Silus joins forces with Lilly Squires (Saffron Burrows), a human police captain, and discovers that Edgar harbors dark secrets.

This film provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Lilly is a police officer charged with investigating the case and ends up being the one to off the Big Bad.
  • Ambiguously Evil: The Brotherhood is seemingly benevolent, but they display a couple of sinister traits: they indoctrinate their members from early to see themselves as superior to humans (but still in service to them), and control the government and the media while they do everything to make humans dependent on them. Even when it's revealed they have been carrying out secret experiments in pregnant women to create more vampires, its motivated more by self-preservation than actual malice as few members were born in a long time.
  • Alternate History: The movie is set during the 1960s in an alternate version of New Zealand named Nuovo Zelandia, where vampires have existed for the last 300 years and they have supposedly played a hand in humanity's development.
  • Beware the Superman: In this universe, vampires are regarded as the more perfect version of humans and therefore closer to God. This trope comes into play when a rogue vampire goes on a killing spree with the police and the Church trying to stop him from claiming any more lives.
  • Big Bad: Edgar is the rogue Brother pursued by the police and the Church. Though it turns out he isn't entirely to blame.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Edgar is killed at the end, the public is turning against the Brotherhood and the first female vampire (the titular perfect creature) is born as a result of his experiments. However, Silus is branded as a heretic by the Church and hunted to prevent him from spreading the actual truth of Edgar's actions, forcing him to abandon Lilly, who also is likely to go into hiding of her own since she is protecting the vampire baby from being used by the Church.
  • Cain and Abel: Silus and Edgar are literally brothers born from the same mother, not just Brotherhood members.
  • Celibate Hero: Brothers are forbidden from having romantic relationships. Since they are based as a monastic order, this makes sense but it's also justified by them having longer lifespans than normal humans, are unable to have children with them and form families. They would like to avoid the inevitable heartbreak.
  • Church of Saint Genericus: The Brothers don't appear to affiliate themselves with any sort of real-life denomination though they appear to be Catholic/Anglican. Considering they exist in a different timeline, they are probably a separate denomination altogether.
  • Corrupt Church: The Brotherhood is ultimately revealed to be this. They do everything to make humanity dependent on them, and despite outlawing genetic experiments, they secretly perform them to create more vampires after no more were being born for decades. Their actions indirectly lead to Edgar going insane and starting the movie's plot.
  • Cowboy Cop: Detective Jones is open about his dislike for letting politics interfere with investigations, wants to just shoot a captured Edgar and mimes shooting at Silus when he stops them.
  • Doing In the Wizard: In the backstory, it's stated that vampires were killed out of fear from being supernatural monsters until it was figured out that they were propagated by a virus.
  • Gender-Restricted Ability: Only males have been born as vampires. At the end of the movie, a female vampire is born from one Edgar's experiments.
  • Fair Cop: Lilly and all four of her primary team members seem to take good care of their appearance.
  • Fantastic Racism: It's mentioned that vampire babies used to be killed at birth by fearful humans and its the main reason why the Brotherhood withholds scientific progress - to stop humans from figuring out where they come from and stop vampires from being born.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: The Brotherhood cultivates this public view. They are clergy members that subsist from donated blood willingly given by churchgoers, hold religious education for children and are nominally sworn to serve humanity instead of rule over them. This is ultimately a ruse to control humans more subtly and they are actually far more sinister.
  • Good Shepherd: Some of the Brothers (particularly low-ranking ones) such as Silus, and the man who is seen grieving the death in Jamestown and showing Lilly the baby.
  • A Hero Is Born: Inverted; the movie opens with Silus as an young boy witnessing his mother giving birth to his brother Edgar, the movie's Big Bad.
  • Immortal Procreation Clause: Brothers can live for centuries, with the oldest one being 300 years old. However, they are unable to produce offspring with human women, and no female vampires exist.
  • Kill the Cutie: Stephanie is an earnest, somewhat delicate looking detective who seems reverent towards Silus and the Brotherhood in a non-brainwashed sense, and gets kidnapped, lethally infected and used to spread the virus.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: Silus is at least a century old (as the opening scene takes place 100 years before the movie begins) in contrast with Lilly, whom he develops an attraction toward.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: The word "vampire" is not once uttered despite their nature being clear as daylight with their sharp fangs, need for blood and increased strength. Only in the opening narration, which states they used to be called this by humans centuries ago, but they have adopted the more benign-sounding "Brothers".
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Brotherhood forbids humans from dabbling in genetic research, saying that nothing good can come from it, but this falls flat since they have been only doing this to keep themselves in power and humanity dependent on them. Hypocritically, they performed scientific experiments in secret to produce more members of their race, reasoning that for decades no more Brothers were born and they needed to propagate themselves somehow.
  • One-Gender Race: Vampires are exclusively male and born from human females affected by a virus. This turns into a problem when it's revealed no more vampires were born in the last 70 years, and with no female vampires available there is no natural way to propagate their species. This led to the Brotherhood carrying out clandestine research which ended up kicking off the events of the movie.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: They are neither undead nor turned, but rather the result of a virus: you can't turn others into vampires, you have to be born and be a male. They are stronger, faster and more durable than humans, have longer lifespans (none ever died of natural causes, but their oldest one looks quite aged, indicating they aren't ageless either). Their blood can also grant visions to any human who drinks it and can also heal wounds.
  • Perma-Stubble: Lilly's male colleagues, Jones, Dominic and Frank are all a bit unshaven at times.
  • Pro-Human Transhuman: The Brothers claim they only exist to serve, guide and protect humanity. They are an all-male Christian order of vampire monks that are perceived as superior to humans in every way (stronger, faster, smarter and long-lived) therefore closer to God, but are nominally sworn to guide and protect them and have managed to live in peace and prosperity with humans for centuries, surviving on willingly donated blood by churchgoers, and they also consider it abhorrent to drink directly from the body. However, it's revealed that they are corrupt in many ways, such as subtly keeping mankind dependent on their rule by outlawing scientific research, and being indirectly responsible for the main villain's actions by practicing it in secret: in an effort to produce more vampires after no new ones being born in decades, they commission the Big Bad to perform experiments on the virus that ends up infecting him and driving him insane.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Both Silus and Edgar appear as children in a flashback over 100 years ago.
  • Religious Vampire: The plot involves a church established by vampires who dress themselves like monks.
  • The Renfield: Briefly Freddy, who assists Edgar without quite knowing his goals in exchange for some of his blood (due to its healing effect), without knowing it's infected.
  • The Reveal: Edgar was working on a way to create more vampires for the Brotherhood, who were worried that no vampire had been born in the last 70 years and they couldn't propagate their race naturally without females. Though they outlawed genetic research, they are secretly infecting pregnant women with a virus to turn their children into vampires. The experiment was a failure as Edgar's surviving subjects were turned into raving, savage beasts, and Edgar himself went insane after being infected with his virus.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Detective Frank who gets a couple of notable scenes aiding Lilly but is Killed Offscreen without much characterization.
  • Secret-Keeper: Professor Liepesky for the Brotherhood's experiments.
  • Science Is Bad: The Brothers have banned genetic research, claiming that nothing good can come from it, such as the deadly influenza that affects their city. They also did it as a method of control so that humans are prevented from getting rid of vampires or gaining independence.
  • Sequel Hook: The movie ends with Silus and Lilly on the run separately from the Church, implying they will prepare to fight back against them.
  • Sliding Scale of Vampire Friendliness: The Brothers in general lean towards the most friendly scale at first glance. Blood requirement: they only take donated blood since drinking directly from the vein is considered to be impure. Conversion: virtually none, you can only be born a vampire (and be male). Morality shift: none (they are taught from birth to be friendly neighborhood vampires but in reality this is a ploy to make humans dependent on them). Powers: inhuman strength, speed, longevity, being hard to kill and their blood can heal grievous wounds and provide visions to anyone who drinks it. Weaknesses: none traditionally associated with them, but sufficient damage like them being decapitated or impaled destroys them just fine.
  • Superior Species: The Brothers are faster, stronger, nearly immortal, absolutely enlightened beings revered as demigods by the pious. The boys are taken from their mothers and raised to be seen as such, though still in service to humans.
  • Supernatural Elite: The Brotherhood is an all-male vampire theocratic elite who are nominally sworn to serve and teach mankind as their protectors, but in practice they run the government and enact laws, namely banning genetic research that could turn humans against them.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Jones and Silus can work together, and show some respect for each other, but expect some bitter barbs every time that happens.
  • The Theocracy: The government is effectively run by the Church and their edicts are religious in nature, such as banning genetic research. The Brothers are also teachers responsible for educating human children in schools.
  • Title Drop: According to the Church's text, "The Perfect Creature" is the ultimate result of the mingling between vampires and humans. At the end of the movie, it's revealed to be a female vampire baby born from a human female and Edgar's DNA.
  • Vampire Bites Suck: Lilly is bitten by Edgar, and the attack looks as savage as you expect — she nearly died, and would have if it wasn't for Silus' intervention.
  • Vegetarian Vampire: The Brothers subsist entirely on willingly donated blood by the humans since they are religious figures who believe killing or drinking directly from the body to be sinful, with the sole exception of one named Edgar, who goes rogue and starts feeding on humans.