Blood and Chocolate


Rating 1

Directed by Katja von Garnier

Written by Ehren Kruger and Christopher Landon, based on the novel by Annette Curtis Klause

Starring Agnes Bruckner (Vivian), Hugh Dancy (Aiden), Olivier Martinez (Gabriel), Katja Reitmann (Astrid), Bryan Dick (Rafe), Kata Dobó (Beatrice) and Sandu Mihai Gruia (Pharmacist)

Aiden travels to Bucharest in Romania to do drawings and research the local legend of the loup-garou for his latest graphic novel. A chance meeting with Vivian, a mysterious nineteen-year-old chocolatier, sets a chain of events in motion that Aiden could not possibly have anticipated, as he discovers that some legends are more than just stories.


‘Blood and Chocolate’ is very loosely based on a 1997 novel of the same name. That book is set in Maryland, but this is just one of many deviations that apparently exist in film. Loop-garou is the French word for werewolf. Having switched the story to Romania, the terms vârcolac or pricolici would have been more accurate. The film had been in talks and pre-production since 1997 and had gone through several directors before the German director Katja von Garnier signed on in 2005. The initial screenplay was written by Christopher Landon, the son of the actor Michael Landon (‘Bonanza’, ‘Little House on the Prairie’) and the film was released into cinemas in the U.S. at the beginning of 2007. It has an 11% rotten rating at Rotten Tomatoes from 71 reviews and grossed approximately $6.3 million at the box office worldwide.

The film was slated by most critics and some compared it unfavourably to both ‘The Company of Wolves’ and ‘Ginger Snaps’. I was also put in mind of ‘The Howling’. Reviewing the film for Empire magazine, Kim Newman wrote, “If it came to a wolfbitch fight, the girls from Ginger Snaps could rip up the entire werewolf race from Blood and Chocolate without mussing their fur.” It would be difficult to argue with this supposition.

The film is an unholy mess that even manages to mangle the dilapidated elegance of its setting, largely due to the flashy and constantly irritating editing. It obviously thinks it is sexy and erotic and romantic and mystical and mysterious and foreboding – and fails miserably on every count. Agnes Bruckner could have been a clever piece of casting, but her East European heritage is not exploited and instead she rarely seems anything other than a young American woman and gives a slightly flat performance, although not a bad one. Hugh Dancy is quite personable as Aiden, but Olivier Martinez is a pantomime villain and the pack (led by Bryan Dick) are more like a bunch of spotty oiks on a champagne rampage in Mayfair than mystical shape-shifting wolves.

There is the seed of an interesting story, albeit one that is no more than a pale variation of ‘Romeo and Juliet’, but this is the worst film I have seen since ‘The Sin Eater’ - a real stinker.

Review posted on 9 November 2009


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