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WSR Detailed DVD Review
Shadow Of The Vampire

Genre: Drama

Reviewed In Issue 50 (July 2001) Of Widescreen Review®

John Malkovich, Willem Dafoe, Cary Elwes, Aden Gillett, Edie Izzard, Udo Kier, Catherine McCormack & Ronan Vibert

WSR Review Scores
WSR Picture Rating: 4
DD Sound Rating: 4
DTS Sound Rating: 4
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Reference Systems
Critics' Composite Score: 3.5
Internet Links
Special Features
Includes director

 DVD General Information

(Studio/Distributor): Universal Studios Home Video
(Catalog Number): 21268
(MPAA Rating): R
(Rating Reason):

Rated R for some sexuality, drug content, violence and language.
(Retail Price): $26.98
(DVD Type): Single Side, Dual Layer (DVD9)
(Widescreen Edition): Yes
(Full Screen Edition): No
(Anamorphic Widescreen): Yes
(Running Time In Minutes): 93
(Color Type): Color
(Chaptered/Scene Access): Yes
(Closed Captioned): No
(Regional Coding): 1
(Theatrical Year): 2000
(Theatrical Release): Yes
(Direct-To-Video Release): No
(DVD Release Date): 05/29/01
(THX® Digitally Mastered): No

 Credits Information

(Director): E. Elias Merhige
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  DVD Picture Information

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  DVD Sound Information

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  WSR Narrative Review
Story Synopsis:
Shadow Of The Vampire stars John Malkovich as German filmmaker F. W. Murnau who is preparing to shoot Nosferatu, his vampire movie. Murnau is obsessed with creating the most realistic film possible...even if that means actual bloodletting. He hires the strange Max Schreck (Dafoe) to play the Son Of The Devil who will only appear in on the set in character and only at night. And when cast and crew members disappear, some begin to wonder just how real his performance is. (Laurie Sevano)

DVD Picture:
The anamorphically enhanced 2.35:1 DVD picture is clean, with solid images that are sharp and finely detailed. Despite a dim character, shadow delineation and contrast are well balanced. Even the darkest scenes are revealing of visual information if viewed in a completely blackened room. Colors are nicely rendered, with accurate fleshtones, and deep blacks. There are no major distractions, for a pleasing picture. (Suzanne Hodges)

The 5.1-channel soundtracks deliver with substantial subtlety in the surrounds but do offer an impressively spacious, expansive listening experience from the screen soundstage. Fidelity is remarkable, and the tonality seems reasonably neutral when listening at or near reference level. The music is apparently the most pervasive element of the sound mix, with a subtle yet immersive presence. Otherwise, the soundfield tends to predominate from the screen. Voices have been nicely recorded, and though are placed a bit forward in the sound mix, seem natural in tonality with notable consistency with the visuals. Interesting sound effects to note are those rendering the vintage hand-cranked film cameras and projectors, as they are rolling film. The low-end is quite effective with the deep rumbles and sporadic effects that utilize the .1 LFE. There is also subtle background noise during scenes "on-set" that is apparently a deliberate sound design approach for the hum from the lighting (the presence of which makes itself clearly known when one of the bulbs blows up in Chapter 9). The DTS