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directed by Jenö Hodi
Germany/Hungary/UK/Austria 2007

 

In 14th Century Hungary, aristocrat Thurzo (Gábor Koncz) betrays Countess Elizabeth Bathory (Adél Kováts) who curses his lineage. In the present day, Constantine Thurzo (Christopher Lambert, HIGHLANDER) returns to Hungary upon the death of his brother (making him the last of the line). Constantine objects to his brother being buried in the local cemetery and digs him up to bury him on the grounds of the family estate but is himself attacked. Meanwhile, a trio of American students - Keith (Corey Sevier), J.J. (Charlie Hollway), and Kim (Jennifer Higham) - have made arrangements to stay at the Bathory monastery and get lost in the woods. Mysterious Elizabeth (model Irena Hoffman) appears out of nowhere and offers to direct them to the monastery. Elizabeth and Keith bond over his sympathy for the Countess (who he says would have been treated for mental illness now and suggests that her madness was the result of years of brutalization by her husband). Arriving at the monastery, they learn from the monks that tours to the castle are no longer being offered after a tour a few days prior was attacked by wolves and their own Brother Alexis was among the casualties. Elizabeth offers to lead them up to the castle herself. They crash their rented car off a cliff (a pretty good stunt set up by the credibility-straining stupid behavior of the secondary couple) but they come upon a cabin at the foot of the road to the castle where they discover Brother Alexis (András Kern), nun Sister Catherine (Anja Kruse), and two German tourists (Zolee Ganxsta and Florentine Lahme) on their way up to the castle. Elizabeth disappears, leaving a note to Keith to "search for the white light" and her medallion. The group's night trek up to the castle is set upon by wolves (another fairly well done sequence with some great snarling wolf close-ups) but a force scares the wolves off and the group make it to the castle (an impressive location although the actual Bathory castle is in ruins). When shown the necklace Elizabeth left behind, Brother Alexis tells Keith that Elizabeth is the Countess' daughter which would make her a 500 year old vampire. When Kim disappears, the group split up to search for her and hunt Elizabeth but Constantine Thurzo soon pops up as a vampire claiming the castle as his. Are Elizabeth and Thurzo working together or are they enemies?

The film starts off fairly well until a craggy Lambert (whose accented English has never been appealing) bursts in and ruins the atmosphere with the first lines of English dialogue. Then we're introduced to three stereotypical Americans driving through the mountains in a convertible and being obnoxious to the superstitious locals. Hoffman and Sevier make good principals and the co-production contributions from Germany, Hungary, UK, and Austria allow for some impressive locations, some proficient effects, and good action set-pieces but the scripting is convoluted and Lambert is just bad throughout (especially when he reappears as a vampire who deconstructs at length the vampire myth and makes faux-witty remarks like "I just want to kill you and drink your blood"). The somewhat novel though not unexpected twist (related to the characters cycling through dimensions and J.J.'s watch which has slowed down to a crawl) is such that it takes several minutes after the climax to explain and then the whole thing closes with a Hungarian rap song. The end result is uneven but has some good bits. Lambert fans may enjoy him and Hoffman doing some HIGHLANDER/MORTAL KOMBAT-esque fights.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 7 March 2007

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DVD Review: MTI Home Video (retail) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

MTI Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:38:00
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.47 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1; English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles Spanish, English (CC), none
Features Release Information:
Studio: MTI Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Behind the Scenes (4:3; 25:28)
• Music Video (4:3; 3:49)
• Trailer (4:3; 1:53)
• Trailers for RESPIRE, BY THE WILL OF GENGHIS KAHN, and SUTURES

DVD Release Date: 24 August 2010
Amaray

Chapters 20

 

Comments

MTI initially sent out a fullscreen, watermarked DVDR screener with 2.0 audio and no extras. Their retail disc reveals that the screener was cropped. The dual-layer anamorphic image is interlaced (possibly PAL-NTSC since the UK disc also runs 98 minutes and the stated running time is approximately 105 minutes), but it offers both 5.1 and 2.0 stereo audio options. Also included are a half-hour making-of featurette, a music video, and the film's trailer (as well as trailers for other MTI releases).

The UK Network DVD also runs 98 minutes but has only 2.0 stereo audio (as mentioned above, the MTI has both 5.1 and 2.0) and a trailer. The German DVD also features a 5.1 English track, and making-of featurette, but it is a shorter cut that runs 89 minutes.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

MTI Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

 

 




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