Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Shadow of the Vampire

Dir: E. Elias Merhige (Suspect Zero)
Source Material: Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922)
Cast: John Malkovich, Willem Dafoe, Udo Keir, Cary Elwes, Catherine McCormack, Eddie Izzard
UK/USA/Luxembourg, 2000

Seen: Revisited October 16, 2009

Reason to Review: Vampathon: Vampire Film Marathon *

The premise of Shadow of the Vampire is brilliant. It's a creative take on the process of filming Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922) from the perspective of if Count Orlok actor Max Schreck blurs the lines between method acting and reality. As a film fan, it's always a treat to see metafilm in action, and with this film even moreso considering only recently revisiting Nosferatu (1922) and so many other vampire films for the Vampathon.

I had seen it before and remembered it fondly but not that well. The film has a great blend of behind the scenes drama with actors and crew as well as creating a genuine creepy tone around the mysterious Max Schreck who undoubtedly makes people very uncomfortable. John Malkovich is stellar in his role of the singular focused on results director and we see beautiful transitions between staging, shooting and finished product of the film. Willem Dafoe is absolutely perfect as Schreck, and was rightfully nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars (the award went to Benicio Del Toro for Traffic) and the film was also nominated for Best Make Up (but lost to How the Grinch Stole Christmas) and is one of the few vampire films I can recall being recognized by The Academy. Although, technically it's a pretty non-traditional vampire film and can flip between being tongue-in-cheek to scary. After the acting, one of the things I most enjoyed about it was the art direction and how well it captured the feel of the original Nosferatu (1922) in tone and style. Such a treat!

I did have a funny revelation this time while watching Shadow of the Vampire, as I realized when I first saw it in the early 2000's I hadn't even seen Nosferatu (1922), yet still really enjoyed and appreciated the film.

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it
I'll watch it again
I'd recommend it fans of vampire films as well as film buffs

Return to Film Reviews, See all Vampire Film Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2009

* Vampathon is a 16 week marathon explore vampire films from Nosferatu (1922) up to the upcoming release of The Twilight Saga: New Moon

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