Shadow of the Vampire
Director: E. Elias Merhige
Country. United Kingdom
I usually agree with the critic's opinion about movies. When I watch a movie and thought it was bad, most of the time critics say the same thing. But from time to time there will come along a film in which the critics and I are in total disagreement. A good example of this is this horror film entitled Shadow of the Vampire, which the 81% of the Tomatometer critics liked, including Roger Ebert who placed the film in the top 10 films of 2000. But I'll explain my thoughts later, first here's a little summary.
Filmmaker F. W. Murnau is shooting his classical film Nosferatu. Everything is going fine until he casts the title role of Nosferatu, a mysterious actor who's ways of preparation are rather unusual, Max Schreck. As it turns out, Schreck is a real vampire who's ambition is to sink his teeth in Greta Schroeder, but most of the film's cast and crew ignore this, only Murnau knows. As the shooting progresses, Schreck starts giving trouble to Murnau, even murdering part of his crew.
As I said before, I thought this film was bad, unlike most of the people. While the film's premise is interesting and innovative, and the performances by John Malkovich (Murnau) and Willem Dafoe (Schreck) were excellent, I still thought the rest of the film was rather bland.
To start with, the characters are empty and have no significant value to the audience. Most of the characters don't have a background nor do they become important. Just maybe Schreck, who develops at least a little bit. But we only know he was turned to a vampire "by a woman" and that Murnau "found him on a monastery". The rest of the charcters as I said were empty, and ultimately they become rather a burden to the audience than relatable. We don't end up caring if they die or if they escape.
I didn't really like the direction. It was creative by using the title cards or iris lenses, but other than that there is nothing really exceptional. Besides this few details, the director only shoots his scenes with nothing really special going on. It was very formulaic. Also, I thought that in ocassions he wasn't very good with the actors, as some were just seen standing there doing nothing. I think that the director may have potential, he only doesn't show it in this film.
I also thought the film became ridiculous after some time. In the finale (WARNING, SPOILERS AHEAD), even if three of his crew were killed the director only wanted to keep shooting, and that's pretty illogical if you ask me. Also, Schreck could have killed him, which apparently was his plan, but just let him keep rolling until daybreak. And there were other couple of scenes which were also pretty absurd, like the scene in which Schreck first appears. He only walked in, then walked out and he was gone in two seconds.
I have to say that Shadow of the Vampire is a very overrated film. Despite the film has a very interesting premise and the two leads give excellent performances, its numerous flaws, like the lack of depth from the characters or the absuridity of different scenarios, ultimately killed it for me. I'm sorry, but I couldn't really like it.
My recommendation: Well, maybe most people liked it so maybe some of you will, but I'd say that it is not a very good film. Its up to you.
My score: 38%