Blood and Chocolate

It is ten years ago in a snowy Colorado. One night a group of hunters and their dogs track and kill most of young Vivian's (Helga Racz – first film) family. She is the only one to survive.

Today in the Romania city of Bucharest, Vivian (Agnes Bruckner – Murder By Numbers, The Woods) is working in a chocolate shop and living with her Aunt Astrid (Katja Riemann – starred in several German films). The close knit community that Vivian is a part of harbours a dark secret as they are loup garoux or shapeshifters who can take on the form of a wolf. Most people believe them to be werewolves, but that is not truly the case. This belief has caused humans to hunt down the werewolves and kill them. Bucharest becomes the only safe city in the world for the remaining few to live in. Vivian is not thrilled with her pack and only stays with them for the thrill of running. She does not like the 'hunting'.

Vivian seems to be in constant conflict with her cousin Rafe (Bryan Dick – Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World) and his band of delinquents called "The Five". She sees Rafe as going against the pack leader Gabriel's (Olivier Martinez – Unfaithful, S.W.A.T.) law about only hunting with the pack. Rafe feels he is protected because he is Gabriel and Astrid's son; he will be the next leader of the pack. Vivian also has to worry about the belief that Gabriel is going to pick her as his new wife, which he does every 7 years. Vivian is not interested as she sees how he treats her Aunt Astrid.

One night after breaking into a locked church, Vivian runs into Aiden (Hugh Dancy – Ella Enchanted, Basic Instinct 2), an American who writes graphic novels. Aiden is in Bucharest to do some research for his latest graphic novel about loup garoux. He is attracted to Vivian from the beginning and searches throughout the city to find her. Vivian resists him. Despite herself, Vivian finds herself falling for Aiden. They embark on a relationship even though Vivian knows this is forbidden. She hides her secret from Aiden and hides Aiden from the pack. Eventually, Rafe finds out and tells Gabriel. Gabriel orders Rafe to get Aiden out of Bucharest, but Rafe goes a step too far as usual and sets in motion a series of events that no one seems to be able to stop. Everyone's lives are now in danger.

In a twist on a famous saying, in order to describe this film in one sentence I would say that all's bad that ends badly. "Blood and Chocolate" by director Katja von Garnier (directed television movie Iron-Jawed Angels) begins well, with all the promise in the world, and then around half way through it spirals downward. The director von Garnier has said that she was making a love story à la Romeo and Juliet infused with the elements of the myths about werewolves, but about half way through it becomes as cheesy as a modern day horror film. It is unfortunate that the film took this turn because I was rather enjoying the first 45 minutes. We are all interested and intrigued by the myths surrounding the werewolf. It is a cool and scary concept that there might be humans walking amongst us who have the ability to change into wolves. It is also quite cool that von Garnier resists the temptation to lean on CGI technology and actually uses real wolves in the film. The film also explores the question of whether nature (the wolves) can live peacefully as part of society. Unfortunately the film becomes too over-the-top and that pulls you out of the whole mythology. We begin to look at it with our modern eyes and see all the implausibilities. Our believing in the story and the characters grinds to a halt. There are many cool ideas and gothic-like scenes in the film, but that all falls apart and the film becomes laughable in the end. A shame because it had much potential.

Special Features:
-15 deleted scenes

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