Dir: Faye Jackson
Star: Catalin Paraschiv, Rudi Rosenfeld, Constantin Tirescu, Ileana Tirescu

Vlad (Paraschiv), a failed doctor, returns to his home town in rural Romania, after a largely unsuccessful attempt to make a life for himself in Italy. However, something seems more than a little odd. While looking for a dog belonging to his grandfather (Rosenfeld), Vlad stumbles into a three-day wake for a dead local, in line with tradition. But the supposedly "accidental" death appears distinctly otherwise - the finger-shaped bruises on the corpse's neck are a bit of a giveaway there, and it turns out our hero's name was put on the certificate as the attending physician, even though he wasn't even in the country. Additionally, a number of other citizens are behaving unusually, with appetites that stray from the norm. Despite his background in modern science, Vlad has to come to terms with the uncomfortable realization that local legends of vampires, or 'strigoi', may have some basis in the truth.

It's a cute kinda idea, and the location is an interesting, novel one - though one wonders about the point of having a wholly-Romanian cast, all speaking English. However, the return from this declines steadily, due to the precious lack of anything much of interest happening. To some extent, this was the result of my misplaced preconceptions, in that - silly me - I thought this was a horror movie. It isn't. I'm not quite sure what it is: it's partly a dry, rural comedy, that appears to be as much post-Soviet social satire [Vlad eventually discovers that the incidents are centered on the Tirescus the riches landowners in town, who are former Communists. Bloodsuckers. Get it?] as anything, with a large angle devoted to the sale (or disposal otherwise) of family plots of land. Maybe if I'd been expecting this, I might have enjoyed it more. Instead, I kept waiting for any significant degree of horror to show up. And I'm still waiting.

[October 2012]

Gypsies, tramps and vampires
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