This review is inspired by a recent (at the time I started writing this anyway) discussion about the credibility of reviewers who regularly give movies the same rating. I posted a comment there to the effect that I try not to buy movies I think I wouldn't like, and that even if I did buy a bad movie by mistake, I likely wouldn't write about it. So all of my reviews will likely fall into a good-very good rating range.
In addition to this, the only other review I'd written was of Through The Looking Glass, and the reason I wrote it was because almost immediately after watching it (and being much more affected by it than I could have thought possible) I read Flash's review of the movie in which he gave it 1.5 stars. While the sex was lousy, and, indeed, as a sex film it was pretty awful and deserved that low rating, I also knew that as a piece of art it was a really good film and, likely, among the handful of the best crafted adult movies ever made. So I wrote my review from that context and gave it 5 stars.
The reasons for reviewing Dark Angels are, therefore, twofold. The first is that I wanted to write a review of a movie that I didn't consider to be worth 5 stars. Up until the forum thread mentioned above, I'd had it in the back of my head that the next review I wrote would be of The Opening Of Misty Beethoven - however, I consider that movie to also be 5 star material. So I decided, instead, to try one that didn't, in my mind, receive the highest score. The second reason for reviewing it is that I looked at the reviews that everybody else had given it, and the "concensus" was 3 reviews, each rating it at 5 stars. While I think it's definitely a very good movie on some levels, I think that it falls short on others where there could definitely be improvement. (What's ironic about this is that, thinking back, I was aware of all of the 5 star reviews at the time that I was considering buying it - it's actually what led me to pick it up. It's only since then that I'd both forgotten those ratings, and also had my own perspective changed by the process of becoming a reviewer myself.)
I should also, perhaps, state something about the "context" within which I place my reviews. If what I'm considering is a feature film, then I'm going to place a lot more emphasis on plot, dialogue, and acting than I ever would if it were a straight sex "gonzo" type movie. In the latter case I'd be hard pressed to "mark down" that type of movie regardless of how terrible (or non-existent) the acting was - primarily because they aren't about acting in the first place.
However, typically (if I can say that given that I've only written one review up until now and that review didn't set a baseline for what I would consider to be typical), I would take all of the various factors into some kind of consideration within the broader context of an adult movie. You can't have a good adult movie without good sex / passion, no matter how good the other elements are. (Through The Looking Glass was a unique exception, and I clearly stated my criteria for giving it the highest rating despite it's very poor sex scenes.)
Something that's a bit, shall we say "eerie" given the genre, about this being my second reviewed movie is that I actually made more than a passing reference to it in my first review. Anybody who read that one is likely aware of at least one of the reasons why I'm not giving Dark Angels the highest score. You might even consider it, in hindsight, to have been a bit of foreshadowing.
Finally, just as before, I'm not going to list the cast, crew, or other technical aspects except for some specific cases. Those details can be picked up from the other reviews here.
The basic plot of Dark Angels, which in some ways seemed more intended than actualized, is about a woman who is turned into a vampire but who ends up fighting her new nature and, with the help of a police detective, sets out to kill her recruiters.
I found the movie to be visually stunning, and remarkably arousing, but the plot and acting (or directing depending on how you look at it) fell short - in particular when it came to the antagonist in the story. While still much better than your "typical" adult movie, it was actually because of its better than normal quality that my expectations were raised beyond the point of what was finally delivered.
First is apparent in one of the sex acts in the morgue scene with Jewel De'Nyle, where you can see some obvious stretch marks on her breasts indicating the presence of implants. While I don't have anything against implants per se, I do find that they take away from a scene when it's obvious that they exist. (I find I have the same kind of reaction to men who are uncircumcised and whose foreskin does not pull back off the head of the penis when its erect. I have no problem with uncircumcised men whose foreskin "behaves" but I find "stubborn foreskin" to be a turn-off.) It's unfortunate that this couldn't have been filmed in some alternate fashion that didn't draw attention to them. (If she doesn't actually have implants, then that scene is actually much creepier than intended! <grin>)
Second is the presence of Mike Horner. While I have nothing personal against him, I always find myself having an off-putting emotional reaction every time I see him on screen. For some reason, I'm reminded of an uncouth, bumbling, country hick type persona. This may very well simply have to do with the first movies I saw him in when I was a teenager; they were all low-quality unappetizing fare, in which he ended up acting in exaggerated ways, and coming across that way on purpose. I should mention that in terms of the scene he has in Dark Angels, none of that comes through.
Finally, while the two lead female characters are sexy, I felt that Ginger Paige stole the movie. Whenever I think of Dark Angels, the first thing that always jumps into my head first is her opening bathroom scene.
Shockingly (perhaps because I've never seen him before), the best performance of the movie was by George Kaplan's in the role of Lt. McCann. (At least I'm pretty sure that's who it was after looking at the end credits.) Kaplan was also co-writer of the script and he has a list of non-sex acting credits in other adult movies. He could easily get a job as a mainstream actor with the kind of performance he put in here.
Another notably good acting job was that of Ginger Paige as one of the female vampires. She got the "bad girl" attitude down just right, especially with the shades that she liked to keep wearing. (Admittedly, with the exception of Steele, all of the vampires wear shades - but she's the first one in the movie we see with them, and I think she pulls it off the best.)
Unfortunately, the biggest problem I had with the movie in terms of the acting was Sydnee Steele's character. Which is a shame, because I think it was this character that should have set the tone for the whole movie. Her character should have been one that inspired fear and portrayed a sense of strength and indomitable will. Yet, when she actually spoke, that isn't what came across at all. She appeared to be somebody merely "peeved" with the behaviour of her minions (as in the case of Paige's character at the beginning) rather than somebody genuinely angry and upset. Based on how each actor portrayed their characters, it would have been much better if Paige and Steele had reversed their roles.
However, I'm not sure if I can fault Steele for this performance or not. Several people have mentioned that Steele is a good actor, which surprised me. This is the only movie I've seen in which she's appeared, so I can't compare it to others, while those couple of people who've mentioned her acting ability to me never saw Dark Angels and weren't able to comment on it specifically. Additionally, the larger issues I had with the movie were all script and plot based, so it's at least possible that her character was simply not given the attention it should have been given from a production standpoint. But, for whatever reason, her character wasn't menacing in any way (when it came to dialogue and character interaction), and didn't give me an impression of leadership or authority. Further, when she spoke, I kept mentally wincing at what I thought to be bad delivery of lines.
This one questionable bit of acting aside, the movie itself was let down by not taking the script as far as it should have gone. In general terms, it paid a lot more attention to it than most adult movies do - but, considering how much attention it did pay to it, it stopped short and left all sorts of unfinished business behind that made things rather unsatisfactory. An attention to plot detail was lacking, even though there was a good framework in place. There could have been more character development and exposition of the specific vampire mythology in use. I will go into this in more detail later on.
I will go through the movie in general terms from beginning to end and give my thoughts. Also, I'm going to use the actors' last names as if they were their characters. (It's not clear what some of the characters actual names are from the end credits - for instance, Jewel De'Nyle's character is simply billed as "Bitch" - so I'm not going to try.)
The opening scene was, I thought, the best of the movie. I couldn't help but feel a bit let down by what happened afterwards since, after the first 10 minutes, I'd had some pretty high expectations built up.
Ginger Paige, a female vampire, lures a man from a nightclub into a bathroom for some aggressive sex in one of the stalls. (In a nice thematic approach, there are other stalls which are also occupied by other people doing various other things, and it seems to be a very much "don't ask, don't tell" atmosphere.) Throughout all of this, she never removes her shades - which I found to be a bit of a turn on, despite the fact that I can't think of a situation in real life in which I wouldn't rather see somebody's eyes. Perhaps this just plays into a voyeuristic fantasy life that doesn't translate into reality. (Or, maybe it just reminded me of the Terminator movies and gave me a visceral appreciation of the character's invulnerability.) In any case, after his sexual climax, the male patron finds himself on the receiving end of a set of fangs.
It's never made entirely clear if the point of the scene was just for Ginger to sate her hunger for blood (this is what's mentioned afterwards), or if it was also to fulfill her sexual desire. for blood. This kind of association between sex and violence has always been intriguing, and may be one of the reasons why the vampire mythology is so popular.
I knew what would happen after the sex. I'm sure I would have guessed even if I hadn't already read all of the reviews that mentioned it. At the end of my review of Through The Looking Glass, I said the following:
I think that having...pornography in the context of a horror movie...only take[s] away from the horror elements. While Dark Angels is definitely a good "adult horror", it's certainly not as "disturbing" as [it might be] because the sex scenes get you aroused, detracting from any specific growing sense of dread, and they are not melded enough to "justify" the arousal. (However, one exception that comes to mind is Philip Jose Farmer's pornographic Science Fiction novel "Image Of The Beast" that opens on a group of police officers who are watching a film of a fellow officer who's been kidnapped. A woman enters his room where he's tied, naked, to a chair and procedes to give him a blow job - something they gather he's used to by the time this scene is filmed, because of his apparently immediate sexual anticipation of the event. But, this time, at the end, after he's climaxed, rather than walking back out again, she, instead, bites his penis off. That could be considered legitimate adult horror that uses the initial excitement to build up to totally unexpected horror afterwards - but nothing like that is present in Dark Angels, perhaps because the killing after the sex is not so unexpected or "hurtful" in its specific maiming.)
I'll stand by that judgement. It's difficult to be building up a sense of anticipation of something bad when you're getting aroused because of watching sex. In some ways, the fact that the sex in Dark Angels is so good only makes it that much harder for there to be a genuine sense of horror at the same time.
Don't get me wrong, I thought that this first scene was very well done. I was immediately anticipating how the rest of the movie would turn out, and I already had a series of questions running through my head in terms of how to explain what was just shown. As "spectacle" I had no complaints. But in terms of genuine horror, it fell short.
I would have liked to have seen some better foreshadowing, some reminder as the climax approached that something "bad" was about to happen. Perhaps Paige's character could have started slowly scratching the man's chest, then licking his blood off, as they were having intercourse. He could question this at first, then get a bit turned on by the activity (not realising where it was leading). Also, there could have been a flash of his terrorized face as he saw her with her fangs exposed. Then, like in the book "Image Of The Beast", she could have done something shocking, and unexpected, to him in a sexual way. Everybody expects vampires to bite people on the neck. While she still could have done that, it would have been nice to have a unique (pornographic) twist to the theme. As it was, there was no surprise and, more importantly, no sense of dread.
Still, on the whole, this is "just" an adult movie, and I was perfectly happy with what was done in that first scene. Unfortunately, from that point on, it never quite lived up to its promise.
Paige leaves the night club and is confronted with the vampire leader, Sydnee Steele, who chastises her for taking such a risk in being so public and possibly "exposing" them to the rest of humanity. While this lecture is cliche, and could have been better scripted, it isn't what, I felt, ruined this scene - since it was perfectly acceptable on its own level. The problem with this scene was Steele's character, both in the way it was written and in the way it was acted. There were two main problems.
Steele's acting is pretty bad. Or, to qualify things a bit here, her reading of her lines is bad. To be fair, in the parts of those scenes where she has no dialogue, she actually acts quite well in terms of body language, and does a good job of setting the mood of an evil seductress. (The seduction aspect of her character could have been played up more in the conclusion of the movie.) However, as soon as she says something, the atmosphere is ruined. I ended up wincing internally and suddenly finding myself in front of a TV set every time (instead of "inside" the movie) and hoping, each time, that things will get better next time she has a dialogue scene. Nothing about the way her lines come out is natural - it sounds very much as if she is just reading from a piece of paper (and badly) rather than actually carrying on a conversation. It's also not entirely clear if she's trying to put on some kind of accent or not - if she is, she should have forgotten about it and just spoken normally; if she isn't, then it's all down to bad delivery.
From other people to whom I've mentioned this, I've been told that she's a decent actor. But I wouldn't know it from this movie. So, either I have different standards or, for whatever reason, it's just in this movie that something has gone awry. I can't help but wonder if it was really her that was the problem here. Surely, the director carries a large part of the responsibility in knowing that a scene is being read badly and stopping production to do something about it. Granted one doesn't expect all that much from this genre, but the other production values show an attention to detail, so this is something that should have gone neither unnoticed nor uncorrected.
The other thing that's annoying about Steele's character is the way that it's scripted. She's simply not menacing enough. What we should have is an evil vampire queen, somebody who's secure in her power and who doesn't let others do whatever they want. Yet, when one of her minions disobeys the rules of the order to maintain secrecy, all she gets is a slight lecture about why she shouldn't have done that. In any real treatment of the situation and the characters, Steele's character should have been genuinely furious and punished the transgression. One reasonable action would have been for Paige's character to be killed. However, there are several reasons why this wouldn't happen, such as Paige's character being an important and, normally, reliable lieutenant - somebody who isn't all that expendable. (Of course, in terms of the movie and actors, it wouldn't do to kill her off at the beginning.) But, death aside, she should at least have had something done to her. Like being thrown against a wall and drained of the blood she'd acquired by breaking the vampire code of secrecy (which could have led to a good lesbian dominant/submissive scene), or something else equally forceful. In any wild animal environment there is always one leader of the pack. Any challenge to that authority has to be answered immediately and swiftly or else the leader will be seen as weak. Certainly, any age-old vampire would have picked up this survival instinct over time, and never have allowed Paige's character's transgression to just be shrugged off with a mildly worded reprimand.
Steele goes on to have sex with a taxi driver (Mike Horner) and then kill him at the end, just as Paige did with the man in the club. Why the results of this killing are any less noticable by the public than they were for Paige, and hence not also a violation of the code of secrecy, seems unclear. Perhaps Steele is simply doing it out of spite; maybe she does it because she's the "alpha female" and the rules don't apply to her; or perhaps it's not so much the results of the killing that are taboo (somebody finding a dead body) but the chances of being discovered while in the commission of the act. In any case, we certainly know what's coming at this point - but that doesn't make the process of getting there any less interesting.
Jewel De'Nyle (we don't even see her character until almost half an hour into the movie) witnesses the killing after her car breaks down and is marked by Steele. De'Nyle reports the incident to the police. Dillion Day, playing the male protaganist police detective Jack Cross, doesn't entirely believe her, thinking that she might be the one who killed the taxi driver, but he lets her go anyway (on the orders of his boss, Lt. McCann, played by George Kaplan), then puts her house under surveillance.
Steele visits De'Nyle at home that night in order to bite her and turn her into one of them, rather than just killing her outright. (Interestingly, she bites her on her thigh rather than on the neck.) Obviously, Steele is sexually attracted to De'Nyle and/or thinks that she'd make a good member of the cult for some reason. The visit turns into a good lesbian scene.
De'Nyle faints from blood loss, or whatever other effects Steele imposed on her, but manages to make a 911 call before passing out. (There is no blood in the bedroom, and her wound is "clean", so the only explanation is that Steele drank it all. The fact that this wound isn't messy at all, while the neck wounds are, is slightly inconsistent but I suppose it fits in with the atmosphere that the scenes are trying to create. However, there is no excuse at all for the poorly done neck biting scenes later on.) Day picks up her call on the police radio, rushes into the house, and takes her to the hospital where she "dies" on the ER table.
At the morgue, we see a doctor performing a visual autopsy of a corpse. The reading of lines here is good, and the script is actually intelligent, making the terminology used believable - so long as you don't have more than a lay person's understanding of medicine. Unfortunately, what ruined it for me was the woman playing the corpse. She was unable to keep her eyes from moving under her closed eyelids, and the director never stepped in to cut the scene and film it again, either with stricter direction for her to keep "looking" in one location only, or to replace her with somebody else more appropriately"dead". The first time it happened I thought it was intentional, and she was going to "wake up" - then I realised it was just bad continuity and something else that should have been spotted and corrected on the set.
This slip was made up for by the mortician finding De'Nyle seemingly alive behind one of those large metal sliding drawers (I'm sure there's some technical term for them that I don't know), after he'd been drawn there by some sounds she'd made. She needs his help to "warm up" by having sex with him. It's later on in this sequence that my attention was, again, drawn out of the movie and focused on the external detail of those stretch marks on De'Nyle's breast implants that I mentioned earlier. However, this was only a minor annoyance and it didn't bother me as much as the eye movement in the corpse.
During this time, Steele is outside the room in the corridor, "witnessing" what's going on and getting aroused. (Earlier on, she is seen walking down the hospital corridors while doctors and nurses pass her by without seeming to know she's there - in fact, it looks as if they pass through her at certain times. This helped set up the "dream-like" quality of her presence.) As other reviewers have mentioned, this was, on the whole, a pretty effective scene in terms of atmosphere.
After De'Nyle's had sex with the morgue attendant, she grows fangs and bites him, although he doesn't die. She runs out, dresses in scrubs, and leaves the hospital. She goes back home and has "dream sequence visions" of victims who've been bitten and killed. Apparently, she's also starting to feel some vampiric lust too, since her visions are interspersed with scenes of her masturbating. (One odd thing about the scenes in her bedrooom is that the TV is always on and showing static. I'm not sure what that's supposed to signify.) Finally she leaves to get into a taxi.
Day has returned to stake out her house, and sees her leaving. He'd been told that she'd "woken up", bitten the doctor in the morgue, and then run out. (Why he would have simply returned to his stake-out, rather than trying to get into her house and see if she was there, is beyond me.) Day trails the taxi.
She has more visions in the taxi and begins to breathe heavily, gasp, and finally scream. After a much longer period of this than you'd expect the driver to reasonably ignore, he finally takes notice and pulls off to the side of the road to ask if she's okay. De'Nyle grabs him and tells him to get out. He runs off. She moves into the driver's seat of the car and pulls out a gun from the glove compartment (of course all taxi drivers carry guns...), then takes off. Day keeps following her.
She is somehow drawn to a warehouse district (which played a role in some of her earlier visions), gets out, and proceeds to go into an abandoned building where the vampire lair is located. When Day arrives she's already left the car and disappeared. He draws his own gun and starts looking for her.
De'Nyle confronts Steele, demanding to know what she's done to her. She's told that her transformation is almost complete and can be sped along if she takes part in a ritual involving the sacrifice of some virgins (which are being held captive in cages) along with a couple of the first male vampires that we've seen. She doesn't join the ritual but she does watch.
The ritual itself involves more sex and neck-biting. This time the necks are bitten at the start of the sex scene, and the vampiric atmosphere up until now is, unfortunately, pretty much completely ruined by some totally unrealistic special effects. There isn't as much blood, and what there is looks fake. You can't see any real wounds, just a little bit of pale red colouring that's been lightly painted on the women. In addition to that, the women, who'd been screaming when imprisoned in their cages and then again when removed, seem to not be all that concerned with what's happening to them. Except for a few initial gasps, there aren't any screams of pain when they're bitten, nor do they even put up a token resistence to what's going on. In fact, they end up being almost willing participants in the sexual activity. Any sense of real "horror" at this point is completely lost, and it left me feeling let down at the way that things had progressed. In terms of the sex itself, I still have no complaints, but it pretty much abandoned its pretense of being a valid vampire movie at this point. (I can think of a few explanations as to why the women would have cooperated, such as a vampiric form of hypnotism that the men could have used on the women, but none of these are made explicit in any way and, even if I assume that to be the case, I just can't fit the action as filmed into that theory.) Paige is also in this scene (as is another female vampire we haven't met yet but who doesn't do much of anything) and she participates with the men in having her way with the victims.
If the special effects had been more realistic here, such as with more obvious wounds and better blood, then the juxtaposition of the damage to the virgin's bodies with their willing acceptance of what was happening to them would have been disturbing. But even that wasn't done. As it is, there's very little for the watching De'Nyle to be disturbed about or to rebel against. A little prick on the neck that doesn't do much harm and some good cooperative sex. It's difficult to believe that she'd find any of this really disturbing or that she'd try to fight against it.
Additionally, I find it a little disturbing (and not in a horror movie sense) that all of the women victims of these vampires (the males in this scene, and Steele in the scene between her and De'Nyle) pretty much go along with what's happening and seem to enjoy it - while none of the male victims are treated in, or respond in, a similar fashion. I would have liked to have seen a woman victim fight back, or to have seen a male victim be seduced and turned into a vampire also, rather than just killed.
At the end of the "ritual" neither of the victims are dead, so perhaps the intent was just to turn them into vampires instead (at the end of the movie, this result is confirmed) - although I think that defeats the purpose of the horror of sacrifice that the scene should have been about. In any case, De'Nyle reaffirms her objection to what's been done to her, and pulls out her gun to back up her words. Paige is shot and falls onto a stake, so she dies in a burst of flame (as do subsequent vampires when they're killed.) Steele manages to dodge a bullet aimed at her in a Matrix-style slow motion sequence before she runs away. (Why would she run away - especially when, later on, she shows herself more than capable of taking on somebody with a gun?)
Meanwhile, Day has sex with the other female vampire, who gets excited enough to show her fangs during intercourse. (Presumably Day never notices this because he keeps right on doing what he's doing.) When they're done, he somehow manages to grab her and push her away from him before she can bite him. For reasons that are unclear, she runs off rather than finishing him. (It seems to be a pattern.) He is then attacked by one of the male vampires, and is about to be killed - but De'Nyle has come out of the warehouse and stakes the attacker from behind. I'm assuming here that De'Nyle ran after the male vampire when he left the warehouse so that she could track him down and kill him. It was only luck that he was the one who attacked Day and she had a chance to save Day's life.
Whatever the logical sequence of events is, after a short scene in which Day expresses some disbelief in the existence of vampires and what's happening, De'Nyle convinces him to return with her to the warehouse to kill the remaining vampires. Actually, De'Nyle's exact words are, "We have to find the Master and kill it!" This seems a bit of a stretch, unless she's drawing on common vampire mythology, since, as far as I know, Steele has never mentioned anything about her being "the Master" to De'Nyle. (It's possible that she did but I didn't want to sit through all of the dialogue scenes in the movie again just to confirm or deny this.) At any rate, I think that De'Nyle should have been able to figure out that Steele was the leader of the pack and, presumably, the most dangerous, even if it wasn't reasonable for her to have used the terminology she did. This isn't really a big deal, but it's another example of where attention to detail slipped a bit.
De'Nyle and Day meet up with Steele and the remaining male vampire. Each end up paired with their same-gender counterpart, in seperate locations, and start fighting each other. There is the requisite taunting and physical abuse of the underdogs by the more powerful characters but it's well done. In the end, however, both manage to prevail. Day does so before De'Nyle and goes to her aid. Steele finally changes from her human appearance into her "true" monster form and seems to be just about to defeat the two heroes when De'Nyle realises that the sun has come up.
I won't say what happens after this (although at least one other review on ADT does, so it's not that hard to find out if that's what you want). I will say, however, that the final conclusion to the movie is disappointing on a couple of levels. First of all, we don't get to see a scene between De'Nyle and Day, and that would have been really nice. Secondly, De'Nyle's conclusion as to the nature of her affliction, and the way in which she deals with it, is, again, without any actual supporting evidence in the movie itself. She seems to pull it out of thin air, based on her "common knowledge" of vampires from popular culture. While Steele did mention something to her about her affliction, she never said that it couldn't be reversed, and it's unlikely that, even if she did, anybody would really believe the word of such an untrustworthy source. One of the common "myths" about vampires is that if you kill the one who turned you, before you're transition is complete, you are then "cured" and return to normal. Although I'm no expert on this, I've read enough books and seen enough movies to make an "educated guess" that this is actually one of the most common aspects of the mythology (even if I can cite several sources where things work out differently). But with the lack of any evidence to the contrary in Dark Angels, I think it would have been better to take that theory and go with it.
Even if we are to accept the premise that the movie (via De'Nyle) makes, it would be more effective if De'Nyle, herself, didn't assume it and it turned out that way after the above mentioned (but, unfortunately, non-existent) De'Nyle / Day scene. I don't like how it set itself up for a sequel through the use of an almost cameo appearance rather than through one of the main actors. Nor do I like how it concluded with just a mainstream plotline, which it didn't pull off properly anyway given the other problems, rather than a sex scene with a horror tie-in. It would have been nice if we (and De'Nyle) had thought that she'd been saved, had celebrated that thought in the arms of Day (preferably back in her bedroom), and then, just before the credits, we could have seen the fangs.
This is one of the best adult movies I've seen. My criticisms shouldn't deter anybody from picking this up. The only reason that I give it such a hard time is for the very fact that it does set itself up to be so criticised by virtue of its very intent. If I were reviewing a movie in which acting and plot didn't play a pivitol role, such as a gonzo production, then my review would be quite different. But since Dark Angels does such a good job in terms of production values, acting, and plot, it also opens itself up for criticism in those areas.
I think that it excels in terms of its overall conception and execution, and that there are also a lot of specific scenes and instances in which it succeeds admirably in accomplishing what it set out to do. However, I do have to fault it for failing to live up to its promise in certain areas. Most notably these are a lack of attention to plot detail, and what seems to be a lack of direction with respect to Steele's character.
I think I would have preferred it if Day's character had been dropped altogether, so that a lot more attention could have been paid to Steele, De'Nyle, and their character history and development - as well as to more exploration of the vampire mythology being used in this specific movie. In terms of what was done with Day, and the police, there was really no reason to include them in the movie in any respect at all other than through the eyes of De'Nyle as she dealt with them herself. The main character should have been De'Nyle, with Steele as a strong secondary character. Instead, Day is thrown in and all he does is take away from their screen time. He doesn't really serve any purpose in the movie itself.
Alternatively, the movie should have been longer than it was (say by 20-25 minutes), should have included the proper attention to De'Nyle, Steele, and the specific vampire mythology in use that I mention above, and should also have done something more with Day so that his character really meant something, rather than just taking away from the other elements. (For instance, show him in a scene with his girlfriend or wife, then have her killed by a vampire so that he's investigating how she died, and then have her reappear at the end so that he has to make the difficult choice of killing her. That would also add some good interplay between him and De'Nyle.)
So while I certainly don't hestitate to recommend this movie on the basis of the sex scenes, and I applaud it for the much better than average plot, acting, and overall atmosphere, I think that with a bit of work it could have been even better than it was.