Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan play mother-and-daughter vampires in a gory Gothic thriller whose startling departures from traditional horror lore give the vampire genre a rejuvenating transfusion of new blood.

Screenwriter Moira Buffini (adapting her own stage play, A Vampire Story) provides the undead duo with an intriguing back story, which emerges slowly after they take sanctuary in a present-day English seaside town.

Director Neil Jordan really goes for the jugular in the full-blooded action scenes while delivering bold visual flourishes throughout.

However, it’s the undying bond between Arterton’s fiercely protective mother and Ronan’s melancholy daughter that provides the movie’s heart.