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Blood & Chocolate
Fact: Katja von Garnier's Blood & Chocolate is based on a novel of the same name by Annette Curtis Klause.
Opinion: The movie pretty much stinks.
Fact: Sony was convinced that the book's success would lead to a big movie hit, at least among 14-year-old girls.
Opinion: 14-year-old girls are smarter than Sony gives them credit for, thus explaining the flick's paltry $3.5 million haul at the box office. (And that's for the whole release, not just opening weekend!)
Fact: Blood and Chocolate is more a weepy little romance drama than a horror film.
Opinion: Werewolf "dramas" are a really stupid idea.
And on and on it goes. Yet another PG-13 pseudo-horror flick masquerading as something worthy of your 92 minutes, Blood and Chocolate is about as dry, redundant, and ridiculous a genre film as you can imagine. The DVD cover proclaims "From the producers of Underworld and The Covenant," when a more accurate statement might have been "self-plagiarized from the producers of Underworld and exactly like another lame-ass tween "horror" flick you never saw called The Convenant."
The only positive things I've read about Blood & Chocolate relate to, like how OMG cute the lead actors are -- which tells you where that $3.5 million at the box office came from. But the filmmakers betrayed their own demographic by changing around a whole bunch of stuff that people enjoyed in the novel -- which makes no freakin' sense to me. What we're left with is a project that feels like a junior version of Underworld, minus the vampires, the action scenes, the cool FX, and the half-a-brain.
Stop me when this sounds boring: A girl with werewolvish tendencies falls in love with a normal guy, much to the lycanthropic chagrin of the local "pack." In Bucharest. Head wolf Olivier Martinez is a pretty petulant little bastard, which means he'll do what he can to prevent the sexy young wolf-girl from enjoying an inter-species romance. And that's it.
Sounds like the makings of a potentially intriguing (if seriously unoriginal) little horror story, right? If so, someone forgot to tell the director (and screenwriters Ehren Kruger and Chris Landon) that werewolves are supposed to be scary ... even when they're participating in such a formless and inert "teeny-bopper" movie like this one. Aside from some rather beautiful cinematography by Brendan Galvin, I'm unable to name one component of Blood & Chocolate that actually works.
The actors commissioned to play the young man-wolves are a surly bunch indeed, though they come across more as sneering mall-walkers than as anything resembling an otherworldly threat. You keep waiting for someone's mommy to kick the door in and demand to know who took all her eye make-up. Fans of the werewolf genre will chuckle a lot here: The feral kids don't even turn into werewolves; they just sorta morph into glowing green mist, out of which pops a perfectly normal-looking ... wolf. Whoop. (Where you can find clothes that can pull off that trick, I'll never know.)
The thing's an endless bore, to cut through all the mumbo-jumbo. Those looking for a horror movie should search elsewhere, and if you're in the market for a well-constructed teenage romance drama that meshes reality with dark fiction ... hell, go rent Ginger Snaps again. My guess is that Sony figured "Hey, the book sold like hotcakes and won a few awards, plus it's already geared towards our most beloved demographic, so let's option the thing and just churn out something with the same title!" Listen, kids: You were smart to skip this one when it hit theaters, and you sent a message to Hollywood that you won't just swallow any old crap that's plastered with a PG-13 rating. Don't give in now that it's on DVD.
Video: Choose between anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) or full frame. The former of the two looks quite crisp and lovely indeed. Too bad about the plot, the acting, the dialogue and the effects, though.
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 in English or French, with optional subtitles in English, Spanish or French. Audio is perfectly clean, despite the dreary words and meandering music.
Extras: There's an audio commentary with the director and actor Olivier Martinez, which starts off doling out info like "we shot this at the end of the shoot" and "we built this farmhouse" and maintains that fascinating level of information throughout. Also included are 15 (!) deleted scenes, the existence of which are a clear indication as to how haphazardly this tiresome flick was cut together.
It's a "dramatic romance horror" movie that's sorely lacking in A) convincing drama, B) effective romance, and C) anything even remotely scary. Or to use a phrase I've heard employed by the B & C target audience, the movie is "pfft, corny."