Blood and Chocolate
This review was written for the theatrical release "Blood and Chocolate."
NEW YORK -- "Blood and Chocolate," a tale about a morally and romantically conflicted young woman who also happens to be a werewolf, is as silly as its title. Handsomely filmed by director Katja von Garnier ("Bandits") in a style that resembles a travelogue for Bucharest, this week's horror entry not screened for the press lacks the suspense, gore or fun necessary to put it, pardon the pun, ahead of the pack.
The film's heroine is Vivian (Agnes Bruckner), a 19-year-old who works in a chocolate shop when she isn't out indulging her lycanthropic tendencies with fast runs through the woods. Vivian is destined to be the next mate for pack leader Gabriel (Olivier Martinez), whose strict rules about the pack hunting together or not at all have helped ensure their survival for hundreds of years.
Ignoring that rule at his own peril is Vivian's cousin Rafe (Bryan Dick), who likes to hang out with a gang of fellow werewolves dubbed "The Five" at Bucharest's hottest nightspots.
Things become complicated when Vivian falls for Aiden (Hugh Dancy), a visiting artist who happens to be doing research for a new graphic novel about her kind. When he and Rafe find themselves locked in combat, it sets off a chain of events culminating with Vivian having to decide where her loyalties lie.
While the film can be admired for its restraint and is certainly impressive on a purely visual level, it also is a lugubrious, frequently silly effort that will have horror fans baring fangs themselves.
Particularly annoying is a montage of tender moments between the young lovers, scored with appropriately schmaltzy music, that wouldn't be out of place in a Lindsay Lohan romantic comedy. And the final gun battle is more than a little anticlimactic for a picture of this sort, even if they are using silver bullets.
Not helping matters are the lackadaisical visual effects, with the werewolves going into action signaled by the donning of requisitely spooky contact lenses and stuntpersons performing Olympic-style gymnastic feats.
The lead performers certainly are highly attractive, making this one of the more sensual werewolf pictures in quite a while -- and to their credit, they do manage to keep a straight face throughout. But ultimately, the anemic "Blood and Chocolate" could have benefited from a little less chocolate and a lot more blood.
BLOOD AND CHOCOLATE
MGM Pictures and Lakeshore Entertainment present a Berrick Filmproduktion production in association with Lakeshore Entertainment
Director: Katja von Garnier
Screenplay: Ehren Kruger
Executive producers: Ehren Kruger, Robert Bernacchi
Producers: Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi, Hawk Koch, Richard Wright, Wolfgang Esenwein
Director of photography: Brendan Galvin
Production designer: Kevin Phipps
Editors: Martin Walsh, Emma Hickcox
Music: Johnny Klimek, Reinhold Heil
Vivian: Agnes Bruckner
Aiden: Hugh Dancy
Gabriel: Olivier Martinez
Astrid: Katja Riemann
Rafe: Bryan Dick
Ulf: Chris Geere
Gregor: Tom Harper
Running time -- 98 minutes
MPAA rating: PG-13