Orlok The Vampire (2009)

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Connections: Dracula Nosferatu

Max Schreck is back with his finest fang-to-flesh classic. Orlok the Vampire in 3D is a newly restored version of Murnau's Nosferatu. After eighty-seven years, Quality Cheese Productions unleashes this unnerving stereoscopic nightmare. --IMDb
Review by Griffinheart
Added: November 11, 2009
Some vampires are sophisticated, some are barbaric, and some were filmed before talkies became possible. FEAR THE MIGHTY ORLOK!

One thing before I forget, Orlock is a restored version of Murnau's 1922 movie "Nosferatu". According to Quality Cheese Productions website, this version has a new soundtrack, CGI design, and never-before-seen footage.

Realtor Thomas Hutter wants nothing more than to spend time with his recently married wife, Ellen. Their bliss is cut short, however, when Hutter is sent to Transylvania to sell a house to the mysterious Count Orlok. Hutter is told by his boss that the deal is great even if Hutter may "lose some flesh and blood" during the trip. The journey only gets stranger when villagers refuse to go near the Orlok's castle...especially at night. On foot for a good deal of the journey, Hutter arrives at the castle to find that Orlok has a strange fascination with blood. Hutter completes the deal amidst Orlok's wild cackling while, at home, Ellen has begun to call out in the night "The master is on his way!"

The plot really is fairly decent though it does kinda crap out right at the end. There are some definite improvements that could have been made, but it is neat to recognize elements from modern vampire movies that were appropriated from this film. A lot of vampiric powers are outlined as well as how they can work on screen. Modern effects would have made this movie a lot splashier, but the basics are all solidly here. Sadly, at several points the plot randomly jumps forward, leaving the narrator to explain important events that happened in the meanwhile. Oddly, this tradition was kept alive by the Twilight series where highly important events tend to happen while the main character is passed out and can't witness them.

What really sucked me in and made me want to watch this movie was the words "in 3D" in the title, and, really, those scenes don't disappoint. You put on your pair of red-and-blue glasses, and there is actual depth to the screen. It's never used to any real great effect beyond "Hey, that guy is further away than that other guy!", but what did you expect from a 1922 movie? Two or three times, a scene change is accompanied by a bat flying towards the screen, but the moment happens so quickly I wasn't able to tell if the bat "came out" of the screen or not. On the negative side, I do have two complaints: 1) Maybe 1/4 of the movie was in 3D. It wouldn't have added a lot to most scenes, but it was jarring to see depth for 30 seconds followed by a couple minutes of flatness. 2) It gave me a headache. You might not be bothered by it, but I had to watch this over a few days.

The acting was decent enough. It was overly dramatic but got the point across. The dialogue and sound, though, bugged the crap out of me. Screens of text would flash up for the dialogue, as it's a "silent" film, but would also pop up for the narrator's voice to tell the audience factoids that would have been better delivered via acting or actual dialogue. The message of "Knock was a crafty and devious realtor who never missed a chance to steal" could have easily been delivered through having Knock look devious and cackle while he wrote up the contract. The sound...oh, the sound. Every scene has music played in the background just to fill the silence, and, while a little repetitive, the music was actually fairly decent. However, their were also little noises like laughter or whines for the characters when they were doing something. These noises were looped for as long as the character was being active, so you get to listen to the same annoying laugh a dozen times while the character is being mischievous. That got old really fast, and I would probably recommend watching this movie muted while you play your own background music.

Overall, the movie was decent, but I don't think I'll watch it again. It will stay on my shelf as a novelty in case any one ever wants to see a 3D movie, though. Just for that, I'm willing to bump the score up a little bit, but I'm forced to knock it back down for the annoying sound.

Orlok gets a 6/10.
Griffinheart #1: Griffinheart - added 11/11/2009, 06:20 PM
I'm not sure why the cover/back of the case have those green-tinted scenes. Everything in the movie is black-and-white plus a red/blue tint for the 3D scenes.
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