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Werewolves: Blood and Agnes

Quite a while back I made mention of the film Blood and Chocolate; no doubt that post was one filled with my usual tirade about how werewolf movies are always lame and how vampires seem to be the ‘rock stars’ of the creature feature industry. What I do remember is that my first impression of this film came from seeing the Evanescence (Possibly the most appropriately named band ever!) laden trailer. And, if I’m being completely frank, it looked like it was going to completely suck and I’d written it off as yet another black mark on the far too short list of werewolf movies.

Well, I just finished watching Blood and Chocolate and I have to say that I was far more entertained by the film than I expected to be. Ok, before I go too far, this is no American Werewolf in London and certainly no Dog Soldiers! It’s not even a *real* werewolf movie, in so much as, you’re not crapping your pants all the way through it. No, this is more of a fantasy version of Romeo and Juliet, there’s a little bit of action, but nothing that can complete with the new Rambo movie trailer — and I mean the trailer too, because NOTHING will be able to compete with action/volence of the new Rambo movie!

Agnes Bruckner has pretty much escaped my attention so far, at least as far as being anything other than quite the hottie, but she really impressed me in this film. In fact most of the cast of Blood and Chocolate deliver strong performances. Vivian (Bruckner) is broody and insular at first, however Hugh Dancy (Black Hawk Down, King Arthur) manages to break through armed only with his character, Aiden’s witty charm.

The bad guys [/makes air quotes] probably don’t get as good a deal, character wise, as the hero and heroine of the film. Which is a little disappointing, because a really good villain can raise the stakes for any movie. That said Olivier Martinez (S.W.A.T.), despite reminding me of the Sheriff of Nottingham to the point of distraction, and Bryan Dick end up hold up their end of the film. Bryan Dick even gets to deliver one of the best “menacing bad guy” lines I’ve heard in a while: “Run along little Vivian, the world must have its sweets” – In fact, it was probably at that point in the film where his character, Rafe, stops coming off as Harry Potter’s red haired mate’s older brother and does actually come off as menacing.

The one thing that really does lift this movie beyond that of the lame UNDERWORLD films is the direction by Katja von Garnier (herself, quite the hottie). Her style is modern and sharp, without being too twitchy or fit inducing. The camera is almost always moving, however it isn’t overbearing motion or a roughly shot hand held style. In fact the whole film has a fluid feel to it as a result of the subtle camera tracking — Here’s some homework kids! See if you can count the number of left to right dolly shots!

On the whole Blood and Chocolate is far from the disappointment I was expecting. It’s an entertaining film that looks great, has some great performances (It is remiss of me not to have mentioned Katja Riemann, who played Vivian’s aunt and Rafe’s mother) and a soundtrack which kept bringing the game Vampire, The Masquerade: Bloodlines to mind (that’s a good thing, that game has an awesome soundtrack!). If you’re a werewolf fan and, really, you should be, then this movie is probably one of the few that you can check out, without too much fear of a stinker.

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    I will expose my lack of werewolf knowldge and say ive only ever seen the first American Werewolf, Brotherhood of the Wolf and Romasanta. Of those, my fave was Brotherhood.

    Recommend me some more elroy.

  • Don’t bother with American Werewolf in Paris, it’s a sequel to American Werewolf in London in name alone.. and is crap.

    Dog Soldiers is one that i saw only recently (even though it’s been out for a while) and is right at the top of my list as far as recommendations go (given that you’ve already seen AWIL).

    I haven’t seen either of the other two you mentioned, I’ll I’ll track those down asap – thanks.

  • I must admit to being a werewolf fan and, like yourself, think that they do get a bad rap from other night-dwelling creatures based from mythology.

    Maybe it’s the fact that their transformation is something that can come off as cheesy (think Lon Cheney Jnr.) if not done well or maybe it’s because the backbone of being a werewolf is not embraced by the characters and there is an almost ‘oh no! Not again!’ type response from the characters to their enforced and uncontrollable metamorphis. Dog soldiers is probably one of the exceptions, along with The Howling. I’ve never been able to watch a dog food commercial without thinking about that movie.

    Brotherhood was recommended to me but purely from a martial arts perspective. The coreography is pretty damn good.

    Particularly enjoyed AWIL but purely from a humour type perspective. There seems to be very few seriously funny horror movies around (‘Shawn of the dead’ comes to mind immediately) and maybe it’s because it is very difficult to find that balance between gore and a pithy one-liner. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed the earlier ‘Buffy’ tv series.

    However, Dog Soldiers is still top on my list as a must-watch werewolf flick.

  • Is dog soldiers as awesome as teen wolf?

    That would be a hard film to beat I reckon.


  • As if anything come close to being as awesome as Teen Wolf… Man, I can even remember some of the lyrics to the 80’s inspirational rock closing credits music “Win, in the end… I’m gonna win in the end… (wash, rinse, repeat)”

    Oh, how I wish my head could retain useful information instead of the useless crap that it’s cluttered with.

  • Dammit!! Now I’ve got eighties theme music in my head!! I’ve only got one thing to say… “Knight Rider”.