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DVD Review

DVD cover



Starring: Constantin Bărbulescu, Camelia Maxim, Cătălin Paraschiv and Dan Popa
Monster Pictures
RRP: £16.34
Certificate: 15
Available 22 August 2011

Vlad Cozma is a young man who returns, from time spent in Italy, to his grandfather’s village in Romania. A group of locals are sitting three days and three nights with the body of an old man. Ancient legends say that this is necessary in case the dead turns out to be strigoi, and attempts to rise again. Strigoi are sort of vampires in that those whom have been seriously wronged in life can walk again seeking justice. Their appetite is said to be unending, incorporating blood and human flesh if there is nothing else. Vlad is interested to know how the old man died, and why no coroner or main town police have been involved, but all he is told is that it was an accident. The most likely suspect appears to be ex-communist hard man Constantin Tirescu in an argument over the sale of land; however, he is already dead. Or is he? Meanwhile, there are some very strange occurrences: Vlad’s grandfather is behaving even more oddly than normal, the priest seems anything but Godly, a woman frantically makes food constantly, and Vlad himself is waking up each morning with welts all over his body...

This low budget film apparently won Best Independent Feature at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival. I think it must have been dark, because in my opinion Strigoi is an over-long, boring, incoherent mess. I’ve seen so many surprisingly innovative shoestring movies, but this ain’t one of them, so to speak. It’s almost necessary to piece together the plot, due to the crazy way the scenes are edited together. It’s never completely explained if the entire community is strigoi, or just some of them. I received the impression of a vampire/zombie hybrid plot, as the living strigoi seem to have a taste for blood, whereas the risen are coherent but akin to food and flesh-eating zombies.

As for the black humour - for this is billed as a comedy - it seldom works, although if you sort through the mire you will find a couple of gems, like: “His death was an accident, but it wasn’t a sudden accident.” I think the film is stretching for an allegory, too, with the lesson that there are real blood suckers, but you will have just as much trouble with those unscrupulous individuals who just want to bleed you dry.

I watched this film with my girlfriend, who loves all things vampire. Her opinion of Strigoi was a little less diplomatic than I have strived to be in this review. But she’s correct, all the same. Don’t stake out any money on this one.


Ty Power

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