Miriam Blaylock is a vampire, seen in flashbacks drinking from victims in Ancient Egypt, promising specially chosen humans eternal life as her vampire lovers. Her current companion is John, a talented cellist whom she met in 18th-century France. In a nightclub in New York City, they connect with a young couple who they bring home and feed upon by slashing their throats with a bladed Ankh pendant. The bodies are disposed of by an incinerator in the basement of John and Miriam's elegant New York townhouse, where they pose as a wealthy couple who teach classical music.
Now 200 years after his turning, John begins suffering insomnia and ages years in only a few days. John realizes Miriam's promise that periodically killing and feeding upon human victims would give him immortality was only partially true: he will have eternal life but not eternal youth. He seeks out Dr. Sarah Roberts, a gerontologist who works with scientists Tom (her boyfriend) and Charlie, specializing in the effects of rapid aging in primates, hoping she will be able to reverse his accelerating decrepitude. Sarah assumes that John is a hypochondriac or mentally unbalanced and ignores his pleas for help. As John leaves the clinic in a rage, Sarah is horrified to see how rapidly he is aging. John rebuffs her once she tries to help him.
One of the Blaylocks' students, Alice Cavender, drops by their townhouse to say that she cannot attend the next day's lesson. In a last attempt to regain his youth, John murders and feeds upon Alice, whom Miriam was grooming to be her next consort when she came of age, to no avail. John begs Miriam to kill him and release him from the agony of his decrepit body. Weeping, Miriam tells him there is no release. After John collapses in the basement, Miriam carries him into the attic full of coffins and places him in one. Like John, Miriam's former vampire lovers suffer an eternal living death, helplessly moaning and trapped in their coffins. Later, a police official comes to the residence, looking for the missing Alice. Miriam feigns ignorance and claims that her husband is in Switzerland.
Sarah comes looking for John at his home but only finds Miriam, who now feels alone after losing both John and Alice. The two have a sexual encounter, during which Miriam bites her arm and some of Miriam's blood enters Sarah's body. Miriam attempts to initiate Sarah in the necessities of life as a vampire, but Sarah is repulsed by the thought of subsisting on human blood.
Sarah returns home and goes out to dinner with Tom, who becomes argumentative about her 3-hour disappearance at the Blaylock residence, of which she is strangely quiet. The next day at the lab, the team investigates Sarah's blood by Tom's authority and reveal she has some kind of infection that is taking over. Confused, Sarah returns to confront Miriam about her sudden changes. Still reeling from the effects of her vampiric transformation, Sarah allows Miriam to put her to bed in a guest room.
Tom arrives on Miriam's doorstep, trying to find Sarah. Miriam shows him to the upstairs bedroom. Sarah, starving and desperate, kills Tom. Miriam assures her that she will soon forget what she was. As the two kiss, Sarah drives Miriam's ankh-knife into her own throat and holds her mouth over Miriam's, forcing Miriam to ingest her blood. Miriam carries Sarah upstairs, intending to place her with her other boxed lovers. A rumbling occurs and the mummies of Miriam's previous lovers, including John, emerge from their coffins, driving her over the edge of the balcony. As she rapidly ages, the mummies become dust.
The police investigator returns to find a real estate agent showing the townhouse to prospective buyers. Sarah is now in London, standing on the balcony of a flat in the Barbican Estate's Cromwell Tower, admiring the view as dusk falls. From a draped coffin in a storage room, Miriam repeatedly screams Sarah's name.
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