When I had the chance to sit down and chat with screenwriter Ehren Kruger about his latest project (See the interview HERE), the preposterously titled werewolf film Blood and Chocolate, I was more than a little skeptical about the reimagining of the legendary horror beasts the film adaptation of the popular novel set out to achieve.
When it comes to the mythology of Lycanthropy I was brought up on (a simple premise): “Whoever is bitten by a werewolf and lives ,becomes a werewolf himself”. While the classic Universal monster movies have no doubt framed how I view every subsequent movie featuring these legendary creatures of the night, there have been minor alterations to the histories of the characters which I have come to accept. Blood and Chocolate, however, aims to throw out every notion we have come to know and treasure about those loveable, furry beasts called werewolves.
Gone is the mark of the beast. No longer does the full moon hold any sway over a lycanthrope’s transformation. Being bitten by a werewolf no longer triggers the curse; in the world of Blood and Chocolate one can only be born a werewolf. While most of these changes were preserved from Annette Curtis Klause’s novel of the same name, the cinematic exercise in ineptitude that is Blood and Chocolate makes these alterations to werewolf-lore that much more difficult to swallow.
Vivian (Agnes Bruckner), an attractive, young American who spends her days working in a chocolate shop and her nights trolling around in the nightclubs of Bucharest, has an incredible secret. Not only is she a werewolf, but low and behold, she could possibly be the prophet to bring her pack, the Loup Garoux, back to the heights of their glory days during the Middle Ages. There is just one small problem with this; Vivian has fallen in love with your average, run of the mill human, Aiden (Hugh Dancy).
None too happy about this development, the leader of the pack, Gabriel (Oliver Martinez), is looking to put the kibosh on the young love. Gabriel himself had his eye on Vivian to fulfill the longstanding Loup Garoux tradition that the leader of the pack gets to take a new wife every seven years. The fact that werewolves are polygamous is mute; there are so many problems plaguing Blood and Chocolate that the asinine Romeo and Juliet meets The Wolf Man plot is the least of the picture’s worries.
The most noticeable fault that general audiences will jump on is the dry, emotionless performance from all the principle cast members. In fact the only noteworthy performances come from the werewolves themselves, and I am not talking about their human forms. Perhaps the one unique aspect of Blood and Chocolate was the film’s daring use of real wolves; however even these expressive, beautiful animals can’t overcome the film’s glaring weaknesses.
With the advances in modern computer graphics, to have a glowing rainbow effect serve as the magical metamorphosis between transitioning the Loup Garoux from their human form to their more animalistic side is simply unacceptable. It didn’t help that the over-stylized, and highly unmotivated camera movement leading up to these whimsical changes only increased the laughter from the audience.
Of course, blame for these glaring errors in storytelling should not be placed on the crew. The bittersweet taste of Blood and Chocolate starts right at the top with Katja von Garnier’s overly mediocre direction.
Why do werewolves in human form repeatedly jump like frogs? Why don’t any of the lackluster musical choices help supplement the visuals on screen? Why are there so many unnecessary 360 degree camera shots? Why does the most climactic moment in the film break screen continuity and feature an alarmingly bad cut?
The answer is simple, a complete lack of focus from the German born director. After watching what felt like a movie that dragged for nearly an eternity, when the credits finally began to roll after this hour and a half movie, one begins to wonder why on earth Garnier wanted to tell this story.
One classic werewolf element Blood and Chocolate does retain is the beast’s weakness to silver. At one point in the movie, in order to beat out his monstrous, superhuman aggressors, Aiden burns old strips of film. If you didn’t know, film just happens to be rich with silver. How ironic this scene was, because while watching Blood and Chocolate that was all I could think about doing – heading up to the projection booth and burning the print. At least it would protect me from the werewolves in Blood and Chocolate.
-Joe Russo, MoviePulse