Shadow of the Vampire (2000)



Critic Consensus: Shadow of the Vampire is frightening, compelling, and funny, and features an excellent performance by Willem Dafoe.

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Movie Info

F W Murnau is making Nosferatu on location in Eastern Europe. The director is determined to make this the most authentic movie ever. To this end Murnau has employed a real vampire, Max Schreck. He explains Schreck's weird behavior by saying that he is a fastidious method actor. As payment Schreck has been promised drug addicted beauty Greta - Nosferatu's leading-lady. She is to be his at the end of filming. But it seems that Schreck cannot wait that long to taste the blood of the crew.
R (for some sexuality, drug content, violence and langauge)
Drama , Horror , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
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John Malkovich
as F.W. Murnau
Willem Dafoe
as Max Schreck
Udo Kier
as Albin
Cary Elwes
as Fritz
Eddie Izzard
as Gustav
Aden Gillett
as Henrick
Ronan Vibert
as Wolfgang
Derek Kueter
as Reporter
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Critic Reviews for Shadow of the Vampire

All Critics (135) | Top Critics (34)

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.

Full Review… | September 25, 2007
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | September 25, 2007
Top Critic

Intriguing, eccentric, sporadically entertaining tosh (but tosh all the same).

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

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.

September 26, 2002
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

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… | March 22, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

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… | February 7, 2001
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Shadow of the Vampire

The idea is really original and Dafoe delivers a spectacular performance under that fantastic makeup (the scene of the Count devouring the bat is hysterical); it is just a pity, though, that the weak script has such a redundant dialogue and Merhige's direction has some misfires.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

If there is a good reason to watch this film, then it's Willem Dafoe's spine shivering performance. From his body language and disturbing smile, to his maniacal voice, Dafoe delivers a performance that shouldn't be forgotten very easily. There was a particular scene that was priceless; of how Dafoe's character was hit by the sun, his reaction was so convincing, its very difficult to ignore how powerful Willem Dafoe made this Oscar worthy performance, for which I personally believe he should've won.

Samuel Riley
Samuel Riley

Super Reviewer

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