Science fiction and fantasy                                            



Blood and Chocolate

directed by Katja Von Garnier

Blood and Chocolate poster  
In spite of the title, Blood and Chocolate is not about sweet-toothed vampires. Vivian (Agnes Bruckner) saw her family hunted down and shot by men with dogs when she was just a child. Now 19, she lives in Bucharest with her Aunt Astrid (Katja Riemann), and an extended family who refer to themselves as a pack.

This is a werewolf movie that wants to be a vampire flick, with its images of bloodthirsty hunting and sensual scenes in nightclubs. By day Vivian is a chocolatier, but she leads a peculiar double life. The pack run the city, dispensing justice to the corrupt and watching over it. They are a law unto themselves.

They are led by Gabriel (Olivier Martinez), who everyone defers to as though he is some kind of God-king. Olivier Martinez plays Gabriel with a kind of dark, sensual, French charm that makes it easy to imagine the women of the pack worshipping him. But Vivian isn't so taken with him, after seeing how badly he neglects her aunt. She's more interested in Aiden (Hugh Dancy), a handsome young artist who is creating a graphic novel about werewolves, or loup-garoux. But it's a forbidden relationship, because she can't let an outsider know about her true nature.

Some of the urban locations have a worn-out, faded beauty. But the effects, and particularly the transformations, aren't very impressive. Rather than human-sized beasts, these creatures are nothing but real wolves. They're far too small to be really intimidating. It's not up to the standard you might expect of a modern movie.

In Blood and Chocolate Vivian is faced with a choice between love and family loyalty, between making her own destiny and following the rules that others have laid down for her. This film is part love story, part violent scrum. Towards the end it descends into a spree of excessive fighting and a rampage of guns, fire and explosions. It's all too clichéd, which is a shame because the film begins with a lot more style and depth than it ends with. It's very loosely based on a book by Annette Curtis Klause, but it's hard to avoid the feeling that if the screenwriters had stuck closer to the original plot it would have been more watchable. If Blood and Chocolate had maintained its intensity instead of succumbing to staid Hollywood formulas it might have been more palatable. Instead we get sawdust popcorn, the banal flavour of a movie created by studios too afraid to create something a little offbeat.

Film Details

Year: 2007

Categories: Films

  Horror

Classification: 12

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3 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson

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