Shadow of the Vampire (2000)
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as F.W. Murnau
as Max Schreck
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Critic Reviews for Shadow of the Vampire
"Shadow of the Vampire" is a gory and grandiose metaphor for the torments and sacrifices made, extracted, and endured in the name of art.
The screenplay, by Steven Katz, suffers from arch, almost unspeakably theatrical dialogue, and, as Murnau, John Malkovich recites his lines as if monomania were synonymous with monotonic: He drains the drama of blood.
Wholly absorbing and inspired in parts, this carefully crafted curio dares to suggest that Murnau made a Faustian pact with an actual vampire to play the title role in exchange for the neck of the film's leading lady at production's end.
Intriguing, eccentric, sporadically entertaining tosh (but tosh all the same).
It's a marvelous, resonant joke that never quite succeeds: Stretches of the film resemble a Dario Argento horrorfest crossed with a Mel Brooks spoof.
Audience Reviews for Shadow of the Vampire
Willem Dafoe and John Malkavich in a horror film that wonders aloud if true horror is actually working with "committed artists". Very nearly a classic, while certainly a homage to one of horror's earliest masterpieces, the fun is less in the scares than in watching the cast emerge themselves in method acting.
The idea is really original and Dafoe delivers a spectacular performance under that fantastic makeup (the scene of the Count devouring the bat is hysterical); it is just a pity, though, that the weak script has such a redundant dialogue and Merhige's direction has some misfires.
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