Blood and Chocolate


Agnes Bruckner as Vivian
Hugh Dancy as Aiden
Olivier Martinez as Gabriel
Katja Riemann as Astrid
Bryan Dick as Rafe
Chris Geere as Ulf
Tom Harper as Gregor
John Kerr as Finn
Jack Wilson as Willem
Vitalie Ursu as Constani
Bogdan Voda as Albu
Kata Dobó as Beatrice

Directed by Katja von Garnier

If the bad title isn’t enough to scare you off, there’s little else in this lame werewolf romance that might do the job.

After seeing her family slaughtered in Colorado, a young girl named Vivian (Agnes Bruckner) moves to Romania, where she spends her time partying in nightclubs with her Rafe (Bryan Dick) and his gang of troublemakers. When she meets a young graphic artist named Aiden (Hugh Dancy), they quickly fall in love, but her cousin and her uncle Gabriel (Olivier Martinez) doesn’t want Vivian to get too close to this outsider in fear that Aiden may discover their secret…that they’re all werewolves!

As serious as “Blood and Chocolate” takes its premise of a young werewolf girl in love, there’s a certain point during the course of this movie where you can’t help but start laughing at how silly it is, and once you do, it’s hard to stop. Maybe it’s just how seriously the actors take themselves or the corny dialogue or the ridiculous-looking action scenes or the fact that no one involved seems to know that they’re making a bad movie, but it all comes together in a movie that never really works, as hard as it tries.

After a flashback scene to Vivian’s parents being killed by hunters, the story moves forward to modern-day Romania where she’s working in a chocolate shop (hence the title) and running with a wolf pack led by her uncle Gabriel (Olivier Martinez). Along comes Hugh Dancy’s Aiden, an artist who has come to Romania to study the local legends about werewolves, and by sheer coincidence, he ends up falling for Vivian, unaware of her hairy alter-ego. Vivian’s uncle and her unruly cousin Rafe (Bryan Dick) aren’t having any of it, and soon Aiden finds himself caught up in the politics of the pack, which is a very dangerous place to be.

The premise for “Blood and Chocolate” makes it sound like the kind of movie that should write itself, and though there is an opportunity for some interesting character dynamics, that part of the movie doesn’t have very much to offer. Essentially, it’s just another rehashing of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” surprising because the movie was produced by the people behind “Underworld,” which used that same storyline more effectively by mixing it with cooler action and R-rated gore. By comparison, “Blood and Chocolate” is a mess, not only because it fails to deliver on what sounds like a cool premise (taken from the novel by Annette Curtis Klause) but also because it doesn’t bring anything new to the werewolf genre by setting a love story within it.

Usually, the coolest element of any werewolf movie is how the creatures transmute into their wolf forms; in fact, that is the lamest part of this movie. It’s not so bad that Vivian and her brethren transform themselves into real wolves, but it’s the way they do it, leaping into the air like ballet dancers into a flash of light and then coming out the other side as a wolf that looks so bad. And these aren’t even fierce, vicious or even remotely scary wolves either, but the cute and cuddly kind that you might want to pet or feed morsels to. Still, the pack’s victims, usually those who have betrayed Gabriel, run away acting as if they’re being chased by the most frightening creatures imaginable.

It’s a shame that the film fails so miserably, because at one point, Agnes Bruckner was a promising young actress who brought a lot to her roles despite some questionable choices. In “Blood and Chocolate,” she transforms into the type of 20-something blonde bimbo that we’ve seen in so many recent teen horror movies. It’s not completely her fault, because she didn’t write the dialogue, and at least she has even worse actors doing their share of bad acting. While few others deliver bad dialogue better (or is it worse?) than Olivier “One Meellion Dollars!” Martinez, Bryan Dick does his best to top him by delivering lines like (and you’re going to think I’m making this up) “He’s a rare find—medium rare.” Ah, you’ve gotta love werewolf humor. Rafe also repeatedly threatens Aiden to stay away from his sister, at one time giving an analogy about a train and concluding with a declaration of “I’m the train,” which also prompts guffaws.

Shortly after that utterance, Rafe transforms into his wolf form to threaten Aiden (who apparently doesn’t take kindly to someone claiming to be a train). While a man vs. wolf battle should be the film’s exciting climax, instead it just looks silly, especially when Aiden grabs the wolf and seemingly body slams it off a church balcony. It’s the stupidest scene in a movie that already has a lot of people running and jumping in ways that are very un-wolflike.

You can’t completely blame director Katja von Garnier for everything, because all the silliness aside, the movie doesn’t look bad, taking full advantage of scenic Romania to create a beautiful backdrop for the story, but said story is so ridiculously pretentious with all of the formulaic elements that producers must think the Goth crowd is looking for in a movie.

It’s almost funny, since usually werewolves are part of the horror oeuvre, something that should appeal to guys; instead, “Blood and Chocolate” is a lame romance, which just so happens to have werewolves, apparently done purely for younger teen girls looking for thrills on the level of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

The Bottom Line:
As much as one might want this werewolf romance movie to be good, it’s not, and though it’s not nearly as bad as it could have been–it comes close many times–it certainly isn’t nearly as cool or interesting as its premise. Ultimately, this is a late-night drunken cable classic if ever there ever was one, and not something worth shelling out any amount of hard-earned cash for.