Blood and Chocolate *1/2
Directed by Katja von Garnier
Written by Ehren Kruger and Christopher Landon, based on the book by
Annette Curtis Klause.
Agnes Bruckner as Vivian
Hugh Dancy as Aiden
Olivier Martinez as Gabriel
Katja Riemann as Astrid
Bryan Dick as Rafe
98 Minutes(Rated PG-13 for violence/terror, some sexuality and substance abuse.)
"Blood and Chocolate" is yet another Gothic romance trying to surpass "Underworld," which surprised everyone and actually ended up being good. No film has yet been able to include the same elements, and be a success, not even the sequel to "Underworld," and this one is no exception. There are three main things that could end up being clues to this being a horrible flick.
1) The title. I recall seeing the trailer for this in the middle of December, and it was a classy movie I was seeing too-I think it was "Blood Diamond." And in the end, when the trailer came on, and that serious announcer guy said it, the entire theatre started laughing.
2) The cast. Do you recognize anybody in the cast? I do, but then again I see three hundred movies a year on the big screen. The average movie goer probably wouldn't, if they were smart enough, seen anything that any of these actors were in, and there is a reason why they are all in the same movie together.
3) The timing. It's January, as I've pointed out in many many other reviews this month, and this is actually coming out on the first crowded weekend of the new year. For it to be buried underneath all of those other movies may have been the biggest clue.
But I bit my tongue, and instead of looking for reasons to hate the movie, I tried to look for reasons to like the movie. And in the end, there isn't many reasons to like it.
"Blood and Chocolate" does take an interesting approach, taking a path that is normally reserved for vampires. Beautiful young women mostly end up being vampires, but in this case they can end up being werewolves, and that is the case for Vivian. When she was younger, her entire family was killed because of what she was, and she has always blamed herself for their death. Flash ahead to about ten years later or so, and she is now a young woman living with her aunt, and her horrible cousin, in Budapest, Romania. There are laws in the werewolves community, most of them her cousin Rafe doesn't like to follow. One of them is never to hunt out of the pack, and when an American tourist ends up dead, Rafe is the first suspect to the leader of the pack, Gabriel. Vivian ends up sneaking into a church and meets graphic novelist Aiden, who is doing research on werewolves for his newest book. Aiden lives a life of secrecy, even only putting his initials on all his books. With his persistence, the two eventually fall in love, but Gabriel finds him a threat. He doesn't want Aiden to find out that they are all werewolves, and sends Rafe to tell Aiden that he has to either leave the country by the end of the night, or he will die. But of course, his love for Vivian is so strong that he won't leave the country. . .
I think that the root of all the problems is the horrible script, as there are lines of dialogue that are laugh out loud funny. The direction is actually halfway decent, and the Romanian visuals are often breathtaking, as usual. This is obviously a more pretty version of Romania than the grainy visuals of "The Death of Mr. Lazarescu." But the whole story is far too silly to be saved by a few nice visuals. I think I'm just getting sick of the whole Gothic love plot, with two lovers who have trouble being together because one of them is from a different species. There is not much to explore in that genre, and this is pretty much the same story as "Underworld," except on earth, with wolves, and a little less violent. It is hopefully a fad that I won't have to endure once every single year. I think that "Underworld" was just a fluke, a lucky piece of chance that is rare to ever happen again. The acting is exactly what you would expect in something like this. Agnes Bruckner is attractive enough, but doesn't have the skills to carry a movie by herself. She is better in supporting roles, very much like in the underseen "Rick," but big enough to be on the poster twice is false. People like Oliver Martinez, from "Unfaithful", also don't know how to deliver any kind of emotion, and those like Hugh Dancy and Bryan Dick(whose name fits the character) we'll be unlucky if we ever see them again. "Blood and Chocolate" is not exciting, and a completely silly plot. Even the big action finale doesn't spark the slightest bit of emotion. I don't think this will even appeal to those who are into this kind of stuff-hopefully they will see right through it. It's tired genre, only a couple of years old. This doesn't exceed anything more than some good photography.