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Full of disorienting visual effects, Carl Theodor Dreyer's Vampyr is as theoretically unsettling as it is conceptually disturbing.
All Critics (30)
| Top Critics (5)
| Fresh (30)
| Rotten (0)
| DVD (6)
Stay with him and you'll be rewarded with one of the more-unusual horror films you'll ever see -- or films of any kind, for that matter.
[The film conjures] inexplicable dread, on a night that feels brighter than day.
Vampyr is Dreyer's most radical film -- maybe one of my dozen favorite movies by any director.
If you've never seen a Carl Dreyer film and wonder why many critics, myself included, regard him as possibly the greatest of all filmmakers, this chilling horror fantasy is the perfect place to begin to understand.
With the help of Rudolph Maté's luminous photography, Dreyer creates a film of great beauty.
a masterfully evocative and unsettling horror film
Dreyer's sublimely arcane hallucination
A singular masterwork.
An often gauzy-gray movie that makes as much use of white as of the traditional horror-movie black, 'Vampyr' is so beautiful to look at, it's hypnotic.
In psychological effect, beautiful individual shots are contrasted and related one to another as in dreams or emotions rather than logic.
Vampyr might not be much of a vampire movie, but it's one hell of a horror movie. It creates a sense of unease that few films can compete with, casting viewers into a realm where meanings are elusive and terror lies in every shadow.
Almost entirely devoid of the outright thrills associated with the genre, while managing to be one of the creepiest, most unsettling movies you're ever likely to see.
The plot can be a little light and incoherent at times, but Carl Theodor Dreyer's "Vampyr" manages to be an effectively creepy film. The gothic scenery and unsettling visuals give the film a "nightmare" sensibility that makes this a great horror movie to watch on a dark Halloween night. There are so many scenes in this move that are really well done. One of the things I admire about the film is it's kinetic cinematography, which gives way to very interesting viewpoints in a lot of scenes. One example is a scene were the camera puts us through the perspective of a man lying in a coffin as he is being carried to be buried in a graveyard. The camera points straight up through a small window in the coffin, which gives way to creepy bits were people are looking inside the coffin and views of a gothic church from an upward angle. The concept of being buried alive is pretty terrifying, which is why the first-person camera viewpoint makes the scene very effective. The film also uses shadows in a way that is both hypnotic and surreal. Despite being a sound movie, it might as well be called a silent film since there is very little dialogue spoken throughout. I highly recommend this movie to anyone who is a horror fan or is in the mood for a good spook-fest.
Probably the most frightening film I've seen to come out of the 1930's. The visuals are still enough to give you nightmares.
How to describe Carl Theodor Dreyer's Vampyr: It's the cinematic equivalent of wandering alone in a graveyard at midnight. Allan Grey, a supernatural afficionado, stumbles on an eerie Inn in the Scandanavian countryside. It's there a vampire is feeding on the blood of children and enslaving townfolk to do his dark bidding. One such slave is the town quack -- an Einstein-looking, blood-lusting angel of death, forcing transfusions and treating ailing vamp-victim Leone with the dreaded vile marked with skull and crossbones. Dreyer was a visual genius, and he creates a universe of such chilling lucidity and atmosphere you might get dizzy mid-viewing. His camera lurches down dark corridors, scaling a wall of waltzing, shadowy ghosts locking the viewer in a maze of disorienting motion and menace. Shadows are now spiritual beacons bouncing around the flower-checkered walls and off of ghoulish, foggy ponds with no discernable tie to the figures that, we assume, originated them. They become perplexing, silhouetted characters all their own. Then actors get so under-exposed we can't tell the difference anymore. It's a nightmarish out-of-body-experience.
Made in 1931, Vampyr is a melange of sound and silence. Aural bites are sparse but they rattle and shake the Inn walls, perfectly timed and effectively reserved: the cries of children, maniacal laughter, a knock on the door from an unwelcome visitor, the rare and mysterious line of dialogue. "She must not die!" says Allan Grey's midnight guest before he scribbles a message on a strange package: TO BE OPENED AFTER MY DEATH. (I bet you can guess what happens next.)
There's an unsettling sense of know-how about Dreyer's demented vision. He has mastered what scares us: In a hallucinatory dream state, our hero wanders into a cottage and watches as he is buried alive. We are immediately placed in the body's subjectivity as the coffin lid comes down over the camera. A small glass window, conveniently placed over the victim's face, allows us to watch, from our backs, as twisted tree limbs and cloudy skies pass overhead. Heaven, or perhaps hell, smiles back, as the damned are carted off. The looming storm clouds and specks of sun constantly do battle over Dreyer's hellish country Inn (the first Overlook Hotel, Bates Motel, or even Hostel), where he stages his seminal horror masterpiece.
widely rejected by critics at the time of release, dreyers classic horror film must have been ahead of its time because critics and fans alike now love this film. the film is rigorously slow paced, in some senses patient and in other senses laborious, the strength of the film really seems to lie in striking images, especially towards the end of the film. the pace is excused thanks to a short running time making this a classic vampire tale that can be enjoyed many times over without much commitment.
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