Shadow of the Vampire is a film about the making of a German all time classic silent horror-movie from 1922 called Nosferatu-Eine Symphonie des Grauens (Nosferatu-a Symphony of Horror). The production of Nosferatu had to deal with a lot of strange things (some crew members disappeared, some died). This movie focuses on the difficult relationship between Murnau, the director, and Schreck, the lead actor. Written by
Well made the `who is the real monster' thing works really well
In 1922 filming of Murnau's movie `Nosferatu' has begun. Murnau has recruited the mysterious Max Shreck to play the lead role. Crew fall ill and Shreck never appears out of character or during the day. Fellow actor Gustav believes Shreck is an intense method actor however Shreck is a real vampire and has agreed to star in the film in exchange for the neck of the leading lady when filming finishes. However Shreck's lust for blood continues to grow throughout the shoot.
This is an inventive film that looks at how far art will go to create. The director Murnau seems as driven by the creative process as Shreck is by his lust for blood. This comparison is carried through the whole film until the inevitable showdown between the two drives. The setup itself is fascinating but the comparison between the two men makes it even better.
The film is well shot and uses the different cameras well. It looks really good and mixes bright shots with shadowy darkness really well. It also benefits from a good cast. Malkovich is excellent as the driven director who easily becomes a monster himself but Dafoe is even better. Despite being almost unrecognisable under the make up, Dafoe manages to bring humanity to his monster he also brings some humour without making his a comedy role. Elwes is underused, but Izzard is great as a bad 1920's actor!
Overall this may not inspire interest in everyone but it has a great cast and a good central story. The comparisons drawn between Murnau and Shreck only improve what is already a very enjoyable film.
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