Anthony's Film Review
An early retelling of Bram Stoker's classic vampire tale...
Nosferatu is a German silent film released in 1922, based on the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. If you talk to fans of vampire films, they will certainly mention this one. I'm not one of those vampire movie fans, so I can't say what's the best cinematic version of Dracula out of all that have appeared over the years. Still, I can tell you that Nosferatu isn't too bad. It tells a decent story surrounded by supernatural elements.
(Note: The names of the characters referenced here are the original names in the film. Later versions of Nosferatu may instead use names of the original characters from the Bram Stoker novel.)
The story begins with a man named Thomas Hutter, who is asked to meet with Count Orlok at his castle in Transylvania. Thomas is warned of a curse at his destination. He even briefly reads The Book of the Vampires but dismisses the content. Thomas meets Orlok late at night, but the next morning, Thomas finds nobody around the castle but notices two puncture wounds in his neck. At first, he assumes mosquitoes to be the culprit.
Meanwhile, Thomas's wife Ellen becomes a target for Orlok, who, as we can see, is a vampire. Elsewhere, a ship finds its crew coming down with a mysterious illness, which everyone attributes to the plague. But in reality, it is Orlok's doing. Whenever Orlok prays on someone for blood, that victim falls ill (unlike the original Dracula story in which the victim becomes a vampire). What may ultimately defeat Orlok lies in The Book of the Vampires and involves a method that is also a deviation from Bram Stoker's Dracula story.
As a silent film, it's good enough. If there's anything I would complain about, it's the lighting. For a story that's intended to be a dark horror tale, I was rather surprised by how some shots had so much light, particularly scenes taking place in daytime, that the mood that should be there isn't. But that's OK. I did enjoy watching the story unfold through the body language of the characters. There were just enough subtitles to clarify what needed to be clarified, so the film also gets kudos for not overusing text narration.
If you're looking for an adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula that is at least close to faithful, I'm not sure if you'll find it with Nosferatu. In fact, the Bram Stoker estate sued the production company behind Nosferatu for copyright infringement and won. Nevertheless, Nosferatu is a film that shouldn't be ignored. It tells an interesting story through a nice mix of music, subtitles, and actors on set. Whether or not you're a vampire movie fan, it wouldn't be a bad idea to see Nosferatu. And that is all I really have to say about this movie.
For more information about Nosferatu, visit the Internet Movie Database.