Blood and Chocolate, released in 2007, is based on the book by the same title by Annette Curtis Klause. Directed by Katja Von Garnier, and starring Agnes Bruckner, Hugh Dancy and Olivier Martinez, this adaptation was quite unsuccessful when it first came out. I have not read the book, so I judged the movie as a separate work, and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. The story of a forbidden love between a human and a paranormal creature (werewolf, in this case) is hardly new, yet there is something captivating and different about Blood and Chocolate.
Vivian’s (Agnes Bruckner) parents were killed when her family moved to the United States when she was little. She now lives with her aunt in Bucharest, Romania, where Vivian was born. Vivian is anything but ordinary – she is a werewolf, or a loup-garou, to be precise. Loup-garou do not require a full moon in order to shift – they change at will. She is a part of the pack run by Gabriel (Olivier Martinez) and as the tradition calls him to choose a new mate every seven years, he is very keen on choosing Vivian. One night, Vivian meets Aidan (Hugh Dancy), an artist doing a study of wolves for his new graphic novel. As they fall in love, Vivian’s secret and the laws of the pack become a looming danger that leads to a deadly confrontation.
What made an immediate impression on me when I first saw Blood and Chocolate was the atmosphere. It helps greatly that it was shot on location in Romania. Bucharest seeps with history and character, and the camera work succeeds in complementing that. Blood and Chocolate is definitely a breath of fresh air because of how the werewolves are represented. Instead of going a well-trotted CGI path, the film-makers used real wolves in the scenes where the members of the pack went through their transformations. Needless to say, it made the movie look much more believable. One of the highlights for me was a sequence near the very beginning of the movie, where Vivian is running through the streets of Bucharest. The camera work and the cuts between the shots are very dynamic, with short shots of people on the streets adding nice touches.
I found the music score very interesting, eerie almost. It is particularly noticeable in the scene where the wolf pack are chasing a human victim on a hunt that takes place every full moon. The whole sequence is visually interesting, with people changing into wolves in a mid-jump (even though the special effects could have been better). The scene in the beginning of the movie, at a club with live music is also shot in a very interesting way, conveying the dynamics and the mood with an artistic twist on it.
The international cast added uniqueness to the movie, with French actor Olivier Martinez as the charismatic leader of the pack, German actress Katja Riemann as Vivian’s aunt Astrid, British actor Hugh Dancy as the “handsome starving artist” Aidan, and American actress Agnes Bruckner as Vivian.
If you are into werewolves or paranormal romance, you might want to check Blood and Chocolate out for some interesting mythology and decent performances.