Interview with the Vampire S2, AMC+ review: devil is in the details

An epic voyage across war-torn Europe to the cobblestones of Paris leads the bloodsuckers to a reckoning.
Interview with the Vampire, S2.

Warning, fair reader: If you’re not up to date with the rug pulls of Interview with the Vampire season one’s spectacular finale, hasten thee into the undying night and catch up now.

I vividly recall the effect of reading Anne Rice’s saucy 1976 gothic horror novel Interview with the Vampire as a probably still too-young teen (tween?) while on holiday with my family. The exact year and location are lost, but the impact is not. The book awakened a hunger in my blood I couldn’t quite comprehend, some years before I’d come to realise myself as gay, and even longer yet before I was comfortably out.

So much of our identity is bound up in our memories. And yet those memories are often suspect, tainted by forgetfulness as much as tectonic shifts in how we see ourselves and desire to be seen by others; in how we tell our own stories.

American playwright and TV showrunner Rolin Jones (Weeds, United States of Tara) grasps the inherent riches of an unreliable narrator by the throat in his deliciously wicked AMC+ TV series, sinking his teeth deep into how immortality might further complicate the lies, deliberate or otherwise, told by the coven of vampires at its no-longer-beating heart.

This is the twisted tale of too-good-for-this-vamps-life Louis de Pointe du Lac (Game of Thrones actor Jacob Anderson) and his savagely narcissistic maker Lestat de Lioncourt (Australian Sam Reid); of their broken ‘child’ Claudia (Delainey Hayles, replacing Bailey Bass in season two) and the ‘boy’, San Francisco-based reporter Daniel Molloy, to whom Louis relays his story once more with feeling, to Eric Bogosian in the present and Luke Brandon Field in flashback.

And then there’s Armand. Introduced in season one as butler-cum-acolyte Rashid (Assad Zaman), he unmasked himself as Louis’ controlling boo number two in the finale. A Days of our Lives-style reveal, it was exactly as campily fantastic as the late Rice surely intended, setting the scene for season two with a moustache-twirling wink. 

When the Blitzkrieg raged and the bodies stank

Picking up in the dying days of World War II-riven Europe, Claudia and Louis have ditched New Orleans after she double-crossed her bad daddy, poisoning Lestat with the laudanum and arsenic-laced blood of the mayor that slighted him during a chaotic-good Mardi Gras murder ball conclusion.

Now backpacking across bomb-blasted fields, feeding on fallen Soviets and Nazis alike, Claudia is mad at Louis for failing to ensure, with a lick of hellfire, Lestat could never return. Hayles steps into Claudia’s now dirt-clodden shoes with a crackling energy, shaking off any doubts, the recasting announced with the theatrical flourish of an opening intertitle card.

Determined to discover others of their kind, she’s led them to prime vampire mythland: Romania. A place shattered between these titanic armies, Louis notes: ‘In Germany, Herr Hitler has popped a pill in his bunker and Europe celebrated, but in Romania, the champagne fizzled and went flat. Soviets replaced Nazis. War became occupation.’

Claudia gets her wish, but the bloodsucker they uncover stalking a garlic-strewn village is a mindless monster, a pale parody of their form that’s more bat than man. When they meet its maker, the haunted old one looks like them, but she’s broken by loneliness. ‘All those in darkness go into darkness.’

It’s a key theme, this season, opening an existential dread within the travelling companions that spoils their feast. ‘This war is affecting the blood,’ Louis bemoans. ‘We’re drinking misery, hopelessness.’

Read: Interview with the Vampire is a queer tale about journalistic objectivity

Interview with the Vampire: allow me to introduce myself

As irresistible as the show remains, there’s no getting around the fact that the impishly twinkling Reid is sorely missed while Lestat takes a swamp nap. The Newsreader star brings more to the role than Tom Cruise ever could. No disrespect to Neil Jordan’s fabulous, Oscar-nominated 1994 movie, but times, they have a-changed. There’s no more dancing daintily around the nature of their game.

Anderson’s casting by Jones is transformative. The gifted Black British actor’s Afro-Caribbean heritage reconfigures everything, with Jones wisely rescuing Louis from his icky association with the slave trade in the book. He conveys the depth of Louis’ wounded soul moreso than Brad Pitt.

He is haunted, with Reid appearing in a series of waking nightmares. A cheeky Greek chorus, his caustic snark offers mood-breaking mirth alongside the threat of revenge. ‘It was the perfect betrayal. You gave me a death of distinction. But in answer to your question, yes, I’m going to fucking kill you.’

The shadow of love lost torments. A rain-lashed park bench communion plays as if Lestat is convincing Louis to break it off with Armand, in truth revealing Louis’s doubts. It’s the devastatingly sad stuff classic romance movies are made of. A bittersweet dream thrown to the wind as Armand arrives in the downpour as if summoned by his name.

Zaman’s casting is perfect, looking every bit the deceptively young man of Rice’s novel, while wearing the thoroughly contemporary tech bro sheen as Louis’ apparent sugar daddy in the present sequences set in their Dubai tower, an apartment hung with the triptych Furies of Francis Bacon’s Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion.

No saviour, Armand arguably is the better vamp than Lestat, but he’s no less dangerously duplicitous. Much older and stronger, able to withstand the sun, he’s gotten very good at hiding in plain sight. A trick that was integral to running his Parisian coven, the Théâtre des Vampires located in Quartier Pigalle ‘the perfumed armpit’ of a jubilant, post-war Paris.  A place where Lestat’s absence hangs heavy, glowering down at Claudia and Louis from a portrait hanging pride of place in a space where he was once an adored performer. It’s a Wildean touch that will be mirrored later.

It’s here that silly mortals pay good money to watch their kind be slaughtered, assuming it’s a racy, scary show, replete with flickering projections evoking Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Foundation star Ben Daniel, so compelling as the doomed Bel Riose in the Asimov-inspired epic, relishes the role of murderous MC as the mercurial Santiago, a salty old British vampire queen who shares Claudia’s flair for cruelty.

She’s happiest here with Santiago as her new mentor and the company of dressmaker Madeleine (Roxane Duran), a woman who used what she could to protect herself in Vichy Paris. She now has Swastikas daubed on her windows for her troubles. As with everything in this majestically written, directed and shot goth opera, Claudia and Madeleine’s connection is much queerer now. But our Queen Rice damns happiness, and therein lies the drama.

Read: The Newsreader: how Kim Ho pens the satisfying stress of an 80s newsroom

I’ll tell you one time, you’re to blame

Jones’ genius is in being reverential to the spirit of Rice’s novels, yet fearless in rewriting the details. The sublime stroke of the second interview allows the past to be rewritten. And so, we revisit that sweaty, coke-addled night in San Fran night in a fantastic bottle episode where Field’s foolish Molloy, ignoring the tragedy relayed, begs to be turned and is attacked by Louis in a rage.

What really happened there? And why can’t the older Molloy, now inhabited with wonderfully cantankerous impatience by Bogosian, shake loose the intrusion of Armand in his mind’s eye? No longer a rube, he takes apart their woe-is me-story eye-rolls aplenty, his finely honed journalistic nous piercing lies they tell him and one another.

Embracing our epochal fear of malignant fake news, technology is presented as both the devil’s work and our guardian. Molloy can now hear what was always there on his original tapes, digitally cleared of all the noise. A furtive hand guides his path through files secreted on his laptop, whose identity is a real treat for book fans.

Of the six sublime episodes we’ve seen, And the We Danced filmmaker Levan Akin’s episodes sing the sweetest. For all the lavish location work, costumes and production design, strip it all back, and these vampires are more human than ever without sacrificing their fallen godhood.

Burning in the white-hot fury of their ferocious hunger to be loved, they reignite the fire Rice lit in me so long ago.

Interview with the Vampire, Season 2 is available on AMC+. Season 1 is available on ABC iview.


5 out of 5 stars


Jacob Anderson, Sam Reid, Delainey Hayles, Assad Zaman, Eric Bogosian


Levan Akin, Craig Zisk, Emma Freeman

Format: TV Series

Country: USA

Release: 12 May 2024

Available on:

abc iview, 8 Episodes