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Lilith, A Vampire Who Comes Back
Silent black and white movies have a great nostalgia value, and are often interesting artifacts of their time. The German expressionists had a wonderful visual style and a knack for storytelling. So why, one might ask, would someone want to make a silent black and white film now? It's a question worth asking to the producers of Lilith, A Vampire Who Comes Back, because that's exactly what they did, with very mixed results.
Baron Ludwig (Tanivo Golino) was a happy man, wed to his beautiful wife Lusilla (Cinzia Susino), but then she died and he took to wandering around the town, morose, paying little attention to his disreputable servant Balduin (Emanuele Giammusso) whose hobbies seem to be seducing naïve village girls and then murdering them. Interspersed with, and unluckily for poor Ludwig, connected in the minds of the townsfolk with the young girls going missing, children also start to disappear. Suspicion soon turns to the late Lusilla, who some claim is actually Lilith, a vampire that has roamed the earth for centuries, killing children, wreaking havoc and generally being a nuisance.
Of course, this story wanders languorously over the course of eighty minutes of screen time, and there are plenty of stops made for digression. Ludwig flirts mildly with the mayor's daughter who would like the snag the nobleman. We see flashbacks of Ludwig's happy marriage, and an extended section where the priest tells Ludwig the legend of Lilith, and how she was tortured and killed by the church in that very region many years previously. The film is about twenty minutes longer than it ought to be, at least, and doesn't seem particularly interested in a tight plot or interesting things happening. There are certainly some intriguing moments, and a number of striking visuals, and they have for the most part captured the look and feel of the early silent films, but this is a story that has been told many times before, and better. One suspects the producers were totally committed to this aesthetic statement and weren't concerned with marketability, and so didn't focus on the things that would add enjoyment value to the film. That's fine, I suppose, but it doesn't make for a fun experience. While Lilith, a Vampire Who Comes Back is interesting in parts, it drags. Rent It.
The image is 1.77:1 widescreen, and as I noted is intended to look like a silent black and white film from the early days of cinema, complete with scratches, dirt, etc. It does look very much like that, so must be noted as a success in the visual department.
Audio is Dolby digital 2 channel, but the only thing we hear is the accompanying music. All dialogue is done via title card. The music sounds good, but not much is being asked of the audio here. Obviously, subtitles and alternate language tracks are not needed.
The only extras are a trailer and a brief image gallery.
The producers of Lilith, a Vampire Who Comes Back really, really wanted to make a movie that evoked the silent era of cinema, and in they succeeded almost without qualification. They did not, however, succeed in making an entertaining film that one would want to watch on its own merits. That's too bad, but check it out if that kind of thing appeals to you.