Blood & Chocolate is based upon the novel of the same name by Annette Curtis Klause, which was written in 1997 and has since been in the talks of screenplay adaptation. Written by Ehren Kruger (Arlington Road, Scream 3, The Ring) and directed by little known German director Katja von Garnier, Blood & Chocolate looks too impress.
It was refreshing to see a werewolf movie with a much different formula then were used to. Instead of the typical blood soaked horror we are presented with a dark an… somewhat more reasonable storyline. Vivian (Agnes Bruckner) and her family live in America, but when word spreads that they are a family of werewolves, a posse burns down their house and leaves everyone for dead. Vivian escapes and moves to Romania to be with her aunt Astrid and fellow werewolves. What interested me was the fact that these werewolves are proud. They come from a centuries old family of loup-garou’s (their fancy word for werewolves) that can shape shift on thought as opposed to the tiresome uncontrollable full moon fits of rage. They hunt only to survive and only on the full moons, and they avoid any public displays as they know if their identity is compromised they will stand no chance against the enraged humans.
Among this particular group of loup-garou’s are Vivian, her cousin Rafe and his pack, Rafe’s mother Astrid, and her ex-lover and group leader Gabriel (Olivier Martinez). Each has a different outlook on life and life as a werewolf. Vivian doesn’t kill humans, instead she only goes to the full moon hunts just to run. Rafe has aspirations of taking over leadership of the pack, and Gabriel just wants to continue living under the age old rules and maintain a secretive and noble life as a family of werewolves. Besides the ongoing problems between these characters, the main focus of this story is the attraction between Vivian and Aided (Hugh Dancy) – a human. He doesn’t know of her true identity, but is in Romania researching loup-garou for his planned graphic novel. This threatens the other werewolves and she must ultimately make a decision between her heritage and her love.
The fact that this film was different from what I’d expect in a werewolf movie really appealed to me. Although I don’t generally like romance movies, this really tied into the story well and ultimately I didn’t even see this as a love story. Instead I found it to be a dark look into the mind of a confused young woman, torn between two important things and trying to comprehend what it most important. Aside from her storyline, I really enjoyed the ongoing stories of the surrounding cast.
Everything from the setting to the characters seemed really bleak and suiting for a movie like this, and in the end it was a good mix of thrills, horror, and romance; hence the title Blood & Chocolate.
Although I found this movie to be a lot better than I thought it would be, it still wasn’t perfect. It did have its fair share of dull scenes but ultimately they weren’t enough to detour me from giving this movie a positive rating. I recommend this one as a definite rental and I’m sure a lot of you are going to hate it, but as well there will be those of you who love it. So check it out and find out for yourself.
Presented in both 1.33:1 full screen and 2.35:1 widescreen, Blood & Chocolate looks very good for a film that predominately takes place in dark conditions. It holds up really well, grain is minimal and there are no compression artifacts of any kind; a real solid looking transfer. The colors look very realistic as mentioned before, even in the dark. The detail is equally impressive in subtle things like the wolves’ fir, facial details, and the intricate details of the aged architecture. Overall a very solid transfer, I was impressed.
Sony has included a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track, and it sounds just as good as the video looks. This is a supernatural movie, and the use of all speakers during certain scenes added an aspect of eeriness to the feel of the movie, something that films rarely seem to do. This full soundstage is most noticeable during the scenes where the werewolves hunt their human victims, you can hear snarls in one ear, screams in the other, and the panting of the running victim coming down the middle. I was very pleased with how this movie sounded which added to a very enjoyable experience.
Not to many different features here, fan however will be pleased to know there are 15 deleted scenes.
- Audio Commentary -Commentary with director Katja von Garnier and Olivier Martinez. Some pretty insightful comments including on location information, and Martinez’s love for Wolves in the real world. Surprisingly the German and Spanish born commentators didn’t make for a hard hearing commentary.
- Deleted Scenes -15 Deleted scenes, all of which are pretty interesting and worth checking out; definitely a nice addition to the DVD.
Although fans of the original novel might be disappointed with the completely re-written screenplay, this movie was a lot better than people give it credit for. The story is really unique and interesting, filled with dark architecture and an entertaining storyline. The audio and video were also quite impressive for the film, and although the special features weren’t impressive, this disc was still really well put together. A great buy for fans of the movie, and for the rest of you I would comfortably recommend you to rent it.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Deleted Scenes