Fantasia Film Review: Therapy for a Vampire

(Source: Fantasia)

(Source: Fantasia)

There will be blood.

The next four weeks are going to busy, crazy and amazing. Montreal’s own Fantasia International Film Festival takes over my life. For the first time since I’ve been covering this festival, I have a media pass to get into almost any movie I want. So, official opening movie?

Well… No. I prefer going with my gut. So although Miss Hokusai looks amazing, and I love anime I opted to skip it. Instead, I had a feeling about Therapy for a Vampire which was sold out for opening night.

Director David Rühm brings us a horror comedy from Austria made the way of the old style vampires. All the old rules are in effect. Mirrors, garlic, permission to enter the room. The eerie feeling that Count Geza von Közsnöm (Tobias Moretti) glides rather than walks. Unearthly, yes, but the comedy is human as human you get. The count is bereft of interest. He has lost the spark of life, and that’s why he consults a psychiatrist – but this is just the beginning of a comedy of errors and supernatural powers done old style.

It’s the kind of plot that you describe with words like “madcap”, “hijinks” and “shenanigans” because in the end, this is a return to the more innocent side of humor with subtle references to a world that would fit Bram Stoker’s novel. There’s nothing crude or controversial, unless of course you want to count (pun intended) the vampires roaming about. The Count wants to get rid of his vampiric other half, Elsa von Közsnöm (Jeanette Hain) and replace her with Lucy (Cornelia Ivancan) who resembles the Count’s first love.

Although the special effects are more than adequate they never take over the movie. What does take over is mixed signals, lover’s quarrels and blood. It never becomes really gory. I dare say that the young teenage crowd might be disappointed. Gore and romance are not the prime movers. What it is, is a smart comedy with that old school vampire feel. Perhaps a little more gore would have helped set a darker tone – the movie does seem to become lighter as it moves along.

Initially you’d expect the Count to be the most interesting character, but the movie is stolen from him first by Elsa (Hain) and her obsession of seeing herself and finally by Lucy (Ivancan), who starts discovering she can be more than just the girlfriend that Viktor the painter wants and become more than just human.

Recommended if you want some comedy with a little old horror nostalgia. I’d prefer it a little darker in tone, but the movie still works even if it feels a bit too innocent for today’s audiences.

Coming next!

  • Wednesday, July 15 – 19:15 – Kung Fu Killer (Concordia Hall Theatre)
  • Friday, July 17 – 19:40 – Assassination Classroom (Concordia Hall Theatre)
  • Saturday, July 18 – 18:45 – Robbery (J. A. de Seve)
  • Saturday, July 18 – 21:30 – Deathgasm (Concordia Hall Theatre)
  • Sunday, July 19 – 19:20 – We Are Still Here (Concordia Hall Theatre)

That will do for now.

(Sources: Fantasia International Film Festival)

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