January 28, 2012 8 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Jonathan Harker (Bruno Ganz) is about to close a real estate deal with an eccentric and wealthy nobleman. It seem as though the man feels a change in environment is needed and the town where Jonathan lives seems like the perfect choice. So what appears to be a simple business trip to handle some paperwork then close the deal looms ahead. The trip is a long one though and will take over four weeks to complete, which is not short deal of time by any means. As the time approaches to leave, his wife Lucy (Isabelle Adjani) pleads with him to stay as she has some very bad premonitions about her husband’s upcoming journey. Despite her warnings, Jonathan begins his trek across the Carpathian Mountains and heads toward the massive castle of his client. Once he arrives he meets an unusual man named Count Dracula (Klaus Kinski), who has a shaved head, pale white complexion and pointy ears. As time passes Jonathan starts to wonder if his host is a vampire and soon enough he assumes his worries are true. But when Count Dracula moves into the same town as Jonathan and his family, the real reason for concern is evident as the entire town is in serious danger.

This is of course a redone version of the classic flick Nosferatu, but I refuse to compare them since each has terrific and unique attributes. I am a fan of the original to be sure, but this one also warrants a look and sits next to the original in my collection. This is Dracula like always, but with some interesting twists that make the movie well worth the time and effort. In this version we see the more human side of Count Dracula and this adds much to the film’s appeal, as it shows something few other vampire movies explore. We see the vampire’s inner pain and suffering over his own immortality, which is a very cool concept and works very well here. So I do think we’re presented with a deeper, more complex vampire which means the movie is much more than a simple horror flick. I also love the visuals employed in this film, which is par for the course when Werner Herzog is involved. This is a wonderful and very atmospheric thriller than contains much more than your usual vampire movie. I recommend this release as a rental to skeptics, but fans of horror/vampire movies and Herzog followers will want to purchase this one right away. Anchor Bay’s new two disc edition offers new anamorphic widescreen transfers for both the English & German language versions, so fans will want to upgrade in this case.

This film was directed by Werner Herzog, who has a resume loaded with terrific and entertaining movies of all varieties. While tackling a classic is no easy task, Herzog manages to do the original justice while adding in some unique touches of his own. As I mentioned above the visuals are excellent and conjure up an atmosphere just right, but when Herzog is behind the camera I expect nothing less. The style uses some traces of the original which makes it seem familiar, but the new touches make sure it also seems fresh. This is another solid effort from Herzog, who doesn’t seem to ever drop the ball in his movies. If you want to see more of Herzog’s movies I recommend Fitzcarraldo, Even Dwarfs Started Small, Woyzeck, Heart Of Glass, Fata Morgana, and My Best Fiend. The role of Count Dracula is played by the madman himself, Klaus Kinski who seems to appear in all of Herzog’s movies. Here Kinski (Burden Of Dreams, Fruits Of Passion) gives his usual powerful and overwhelming performance, leaving me little to complain about. The supporting cast includes Bruno Ganz (Strapless), Walter Ladengast (Dead Eyes Of London), Roland Topor (Portrait Of A Pornographer), and Isabelle Adjani (Subway, Possession).

Video: How does it look?

Nosferatu is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. I was pleased to see Anchor Bay revisit this with a new anamorphic widescreen treatment, but as it turns out, the improvements aren’t numerous. The artifacts evident in the original release have been cleared up and that’s excellent news, but this new version looks softer at times. I was never too concerned with the softness, but detail seems a little weaker and that troubles me somewhat. The colors are brighter however, while contrast remains even handed and accurate throughout. We’re given a cleaner, but softer image here and thanks to the dual layered disc, the compression flaws of the previous disc have been erased. I do wish detail was crisper in this new treatment, but I feel the positives outweigh the negatives overall in this case.

Audio: How does it sound?

The German language version of this film uses a Dolby Digital 5.1 track, while the English one has a mono mix. I listened to both tracks for this review, but I recommend the German option for this release. The music sounds terrific in this mix and I think it adds a lot to the atmosphere of the film, so I am pleased with the wonderful sound it has here. The sound effects aren’t as powerful as a more action driven flick, but when needed the surrounds kick in to provide impact points. The dialogue is clean and clear at all times, with no volume issues I could detect. The mono mix is decent, but doesn’t hold a candle to the German version. Of course, optional English subtitles are available should you choose the German track.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This new two disc edition houses both the German & English language versions of the film, with each having a disc of its own. I think it is cool to have both included, though the German option remains the recommended choice. This release also contains a nice behind the scenes featurette, which contains some interviews and clips from the flick. This is a welcome addition of course, but I would have liked a more in depth piece. You’ll also find three theatrical trailers, two American and one Spanish which make cool inclusions. The final supplement is an audio commentary with Werner Herzog in which he is interviewed by Norman Hill. This is a very informative track and whenever Herzog starts to drift, Hill makes sure he gets back on track.

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