Burdened with the supposedly American viewer-friendly yet eye-rolling title Angels of Darkness, Styria (also known as The Curse of Styria) finds us in late 80's Hungary at the end of the Cold War, where Lara Hill (Eleanor Tomlinson) and her father have arrived at a dilapidated castle in which Dr. Hill (Stephen Rea) is planning to uncover and possibly restore some very old murals hidden under layers of plaster. Lara has been removed from the boarding school she spent most of her years at due to some violent behavior, so she is just getting used to spending time with her father. Her mother, who apparently prevented Lara from being injured as a child in a nighttime attack, is mysteriously missing from the picture. We find out why eventually.
The enigmatic Carmilla exudes not only a tangible feeling of power over Lara but also has a profoundly sexual vibe, and each time Lara spends time with her the two grow closer. Shrouded in mystery though, Carmilla is always disappearing when Lara turns her back, causing a sense of unease and near-dread that Lara just can't shake off. And as Carmilla grows more adventurous, she expects Lara to follow her lead, causing more than a few moments of tense disagreement.
When young women in town begin to turn up dead from apparent suicides and Lara loses chunks of time, she begins to suspect that her friend may have something to do with it. Or maybe even she herself is involved.
I wish more films were like this one. Reeking atmosphere and yet very short on actual bloody violence, it drums along at a perfect pace, willing us along for the ride. And while it is not a complete page-to-screen adaptation, it is faithful enough to Le Fanu's original tale that even the die-hards will be hard-pressed not to enjoy it.