Saturday, October 1, 2011

Strigoi (2009)

Well, it's October, and that means that time of the year in which I do the most reviews on the blog in one month. To start that off, let's get busy with Faye Jackson's 2009 vampire film "Strigoi."

Vlad Cozma (Catalin Paraschiv) has come to a small town in Romania, where former mayor Constantin Tirescu (Constantin Barbulescu) has died. Vlad believes it was murder, and when he tries to get information from the strange and shady locals, he figures that they had something to do with his death. Well, Constantin is back, and the townspeople believe that he's a "Strigoi", or some kind of vampire. Vlad doesn't believe this at first, but the more he unravels, the more he starts to believe...

A British production shot in Romania, "Strigoi" isn't flawless (it doesn't have any real conclusion, and it could have had five or ten minutes cut off), bit it is an interesting take on the vampire film. Here, the vampires can only be killed off via cutting out the heart, and they tend to eat a lot when they aren't sucking blood. The film also boasts a quirky set of supporting characters, and a sense of humor that ranges from the black variety to at times oddly heartfelt. It's not quiet "Shaun of the Dead" levels of successful (very few genre films are), but the movie did make me laugh some, and managed to put a smile on my face, especially at the end. That out of the way, those hoping for a movie with lots of gore and action will be let down, as this is more of a slow moving dark comedy than it is the usual modern vampire tales.

Also noteworthy is the political commentary present in the film. Here, the vampires and the events of the town are more than just a metaphor for post Communist Russia, in which Communists and Capitalists vied for the future of the country. In fact, the burying the dead here is a metaphor for Russia trying to bury and move on from it's past while looking at an uncertain future. It's kind of refreshing to see a horror movie tackle such issues in the manner that it does, as it never feels heavy handed, but still offers some food for thought.

Will everyone like "Strigoi"? Probably not, as it differs greatly from what you normally get in these kinds of movies. That out of the way, those looking for something kind of fresh might want to give this a shot.

Rating: 7/10

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