Shadow of the Vampire
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The torturous production of the classic 1922 vampire film Nosferatu is recreated in this stylized account of director F.W. Murnau and his obsession with creating realistic horror by any means necessary -- even if those means include actual bloodletting. The film begins as Murnau (John Malkovich) is ready to take his unauthorized interpretation of the Bram Stoker tale on location in Czechoslovakia. There, the director has arranged for his cast and crew to live in the same castle in which they will shoot their parts, as they all wait for their co-star, Max Schreck (Willem Dafoe) -- Murnau's… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The screenplay, by Steven Katz, suffers from arch, almost unspeakably theatrical dialogue, and, as Murnau, John Malkovich recites his lines as if monomania were synonymous with monotonic: He drains the drama of blood."
‑ David Edelstein, Slate
"It's a marvelous, resonant joke that never quite succeeds: Stretches of the film resemble a Dario Argento horrorfest crossed with a Mel Brooks spoof."
‑ Peter Rainer, New York Magazine
"shines forth as a labor of love"
‑ John A. Nesbit, Old School Reviews
"This is a dark, gothic, and creepy film with excellent performances from John Malkovich and Willem Dafoe."
‑ Felix Vasquez Jr., Cinema Crazed
"At best, this is a dawdling, toothless riff on a vastly superior film. At worst, it's character assassination."
‑ Rob Gonsalves,
"Wholly absorbing and inspired in parts, this carefully crafted curio dares to suggest that Murnau made a Faustian pact with an actual vampire to play the title role in exchange for the neck of the film's leading lady at production's end."
‑ Todd McCarthy, Variety
"Out of such dizzying layers of (un)reality, some sublime films have emerged. Nosferatu was one of them, and this is not -- but, c'mon, credit it with the old college try, a pretty decent effort."
‑ Rick Groen, Globe and Mail
"Vampire satire has some creepy moments."
‑ Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
"... [I]f you like your horror thoughtful and provoking, this is your movie."
‑ Lucius Gore, ESplatter
"Shadow feels like a missed opportunity."
‑ Joe Lozito, Big Picture Big Sound
"Intriguing, eccentric, sporadically entertaining tosh (but tosh all the same)."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"This stupid and demeaning fantasy about the shooting of F.W. Murnau's 1922 masterpiece Nosferatu is a piece of postmodernist kitsch whose only redeeming quality is an enjoyably over-the-top, eye-rolling performance by Willem Dafoe."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"This strictly-for-the-cinéastes fantasy is wild, warped fun."
‑ Michael Dequina,
"An imaginatively twisted lesson in film history and a glorious gothic comedy-drama."
‑ Daniel Etherington, Film4
"Through layers of makeup depicting the rat-faced, undead Schreck, a vampire who turns not into a bat but, worse, a demanding prima donna, Dafoe doesn't go over the top, though he does plant his flag at the summit."
‑ Mark Bourne,
More reviews for Shadow of the Vampire on Rotten Tomatoes

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