In 1921, Nosferatu, a monstrous vampire was featured on the big screen. Many people believe, to this day, that it is one of the most terrifying movies of all time because it is dark, its scenery is worrisome but, first and foremost, because the vampire is truly scary. I did not see this film. I can only think one thing: if this is the case and those were not only nice comments, Shadow of the Vampire certainly did not succeed in bringing to life the same terror that emanated from Nosferatu. This film is everything except scary.
What old vampires have more than new ones is instinct. They act a bit like animals without any pretension, unlike modern day vampires. However, in the same field of thought, Max Schrek (the actor that plays the vampire) doesnít inspire fear into his spectators. The worst he can do is bite; other than this, he is not violent. We must not forget that the villain in this movie is not necessarily a vampire. We are never sure if he really is one or if he is only eccentric.
The scenery is rustic and succeeds in putting us in the context of the filming of a movie in the twenties by recalling that movies were still only a form of art in those days. The crew is devoted, extremist. The lighting is perfect. Still, the movie is boring for all those who have no interest for Nosferatu and prefer living in the present. I am one of those.
It was seen differently back then but our vampire loves alcohol. We learn this fact in the worst scene of the movie where the suspense leads us to believe that something will happen. However, nothing notable happens and we start to regret watching this film. Max Schrek goes to meet a few men by a campfire. It is dark, they are outside and they are alone. They offer him a drink and he joins them. We wonder when he will bite. After a long period where the suspense builds up, a new scene (of the day) begins and we are presented with a panoramic view of a man on a deck, looking at the sea. Then, Max Schrek comes from behind, walking to the sound of joy-filled music. He bites him, kills him and throws him into the water. It was the first murder of the film and made me dizzy.
There are historical elements that will push certain people to watch Shadow of the Vampire. The artistic aspect will interest others. Regardless of the reason for enjoying this film, I donít believe it is possible for a new-age horror movie fan to appreciate it.