Shadow of the Vampire Reviews

Top Critic
September 25, 2007
The screenplay, by Steven Katz, suffers from arch, almost unspeakably theatrical dialogue, and, as Murnau, John Malkovich recites his lines as if monomania were synonymous with monotonic: He drains the drama of blood.
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Variety
September 25, 2007
Wholly absorbing and inspired in parts, this carefully crafted curio dares to suggest that Murnau made a Faustian pact with an actual vampire to play the title role in exchange for the neck of the film's leading lady at production's end.
Top Critic
Geoff Andrew
Time Out
June 24, 2006
Intriguing, eccentric, sporadically entertaining tosh (but tosh all the same).
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
New York Magazine/Vulture
September 26, 2002
It's a marvelous, resonant joke that never quite succeeds: Stretches of the film resemble a Dario Argento horrorfest crossed with a Mel Brooks spoof.
Top Critic
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
March 22, 2002
Out of such dizzying layers of (un)reality, some sublime films have emerged. Nosferatu was one of them, and this is not -- but, c'mon, credit it with the old college try, a pretty decent effort.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
February 7, 2001
This stupid and demeaning fantasy about the shooting of F.W. Murnau's 1922 masterpiece Nosferatu is a piece of postmodernist kitsch whose only redeeming quality is an enjoyably over-the-top, eye-rolling performance by Willem Dafoe.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
February 6, 2001
A shockingly funny spellbinder.
| Original Score: 5/5
Top Critic
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
January 26, 2001
Dafoe brings a terrifying realism to a character long steeped in mystery.
Top Critic
Susan Stark
Detroit News
January 26, 2001
The premise is witty.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
John Hartl
Seattle Times
January 26, 2001
Shadow of the Vampire is so consistently, inventively strange that it's likely to keep you up for an hour or two.
Top Critic
Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel
January 26, 2001
Works as a horror flick because Merhige is so adept at establishing an unsettling atmosphere and because Dafoe's performance is so powerfully perverse.
Top Critic
Steven Rosen
Denver Post
January 26, 2001
Clever.
Top Critic
Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
January 26, 2001
Dafoe's boundary-pushing yet calibrated performance will crack you up.
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
January 26, 2001
Never less than amusing.
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
January 26, 2001
Worth seeing for Dafoe's performance alone, a singular mixture of camp and pathos that echoes the tragic, romantic allure of vampires in literature and film.
Top Critic
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
January 26, 2001
Shadow of the Vampire is at once quite magnificent and extremely silly.
Top Critic
Jay Carr
Boston Globe
January 26, 2001
On several levels, Shadow of the Vampire is entertainment you can't resist sinking your fangs into.
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
January 26, 2001
The movie does an uncanny job of re-creating the visual feel of Murnau's film.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
January 25, 2001
An academic exercise driven by adolescent ideas that never shape themselves into a narrative.
Top Critic
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
January 25, 2001
Diabolically amusing without plunging into the Mel Brooks zone.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Michael Atkinson
Mr. Showbiz
January 25, 2001
Shadow of the Vampire might be the most original film of the year.
Full Review | Original Score: 84/100
Top Critic
Ernest Hardy
Film.com
January 25, 2001
In dire need of an injection of ideas that will lift it beyond the realm of film-geek cleverness.
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
January 25, 2001
A feast of fangs bared acting by two exemplars of the form, John Malkovich and Willem Dafoe.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Jane Sumner
Dallas Morning News
January 25, 2001
A vivid, transporting, not easily forgotten homage to genius and the cinema.
Top Critic
Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
January 25, 2001
[Dafoe] gives Shadow both style and substance, flesh and fantasy.
Top Critic
Hap Erstein
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
January 25, 2001
An ingenious, diabolical, probably libelous, funhouse of a movie.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Edward Guthmann
San Francisco Chronicle
January 12, 2001
Dafoe never reverts to campy, movie-monster gestures but seems liberated, consumed by his character, inspired to give a performance that's intuitive and otherworldly.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Jonathan Foreman
New York Post
December 29, 2000
Director Merhige is remarkably successful at conveying both the heady atmosphere of the German expressionist filmmaking in its heyday and a sense of how wonderful those films actually look, even today.
Top Critic
Gene Seymour
Newsday
December 28, 2000
With a project such as this, it's the two central performers who should run with the ball, and they both come through like champs.
Top Critic
David Germain
Associated Press
December 28, 2000
A bright and original homage to pre-talkie days.
Top Critic
A.O. Scott
New York Times
December 28, 2000
Shadow of the Vampire has a weird, flickering magic that is hard to dispel.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
December 28, 2000
Willem Dafoe's performance in Shadow of the Vampire is so irresistible it not only breaks that cycle but turns an otherwise just adequate film into something everyone will want to take a look at.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
J. Hoberman
Village Voice
December 27, 2000
Manages to turn a highly dubious concept into a subtle and deliciously mordant comedy.
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
December 25, 2000
In addition to having a wonderful conceit as the basis of the plot and featuring two superlative lead performances, the film pays homage to its inspiration.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4