Review: “Shadow of the Vampire”

Whatever preconceptions you have about this movie, you’re probably wrong. This is not a horror film nor a black comedy, rather its probably the most unique dark drama you’ll see this year – a film very different for both the genre and for American filmmaking (as it feels very European, and I don’t mean just in the movie’s setting). Lets start with the acting and sadly Malkovich is stuck with only a so-so role which doesn’t really get to exploit his talent – but this is not his movie.

That title belongs to Dafoe who gives the performance of his career as Shreck, a vampire like nothing on Buffy – he truly deserves an Oscar nomination for this. The other supporting actors though prove good with Eddie Izzard and Udo Kier doing good jobs. Visually the production is spectacular due to one distinctive element so lacking in movies today – atmosphere. From the opening wall mural credits with its haunting theme, the visuals of the film are perfect with interesting locales and dark settings full of creepy shadows and sinister hallways.

The concept too is quite original in regards to what Shreck is doing (though I won’t spoil it for you), but he’s a real three-dimensional character that’s menacing, funny and tragic all at the same time. There’s also elements of comedy which work well and don’t interrupt or alter the mood. On top of that there’s the finale with the last 15 minute sequence of the movie being gripping and exciting.

So are there any weaknesses? Well the pace is quite slow and the gore level is pretty much next to nothing, which’ll certainly alienate a lot of the teen slasher crowd. Those however who’ve gotten tired of the Scream-clones and want something different and more serious then this is the flick for you.