The filming of Nosferatu and the difficult relationship between F.W. Murnau and Max Schreck cast the backdrop, as cast and crew begin to disappear, while Murnau has seemingly made a devil’s bargain with Schreck, whose performance is too authentic.
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If Murnau's masterpiece was filmed entirely real, I am not sure what else would happened if Max Schrek were actually a vampire. Both Malkovich and Defoe give out some brilliant performances as the director & the vampire for whom they try to create a masterpiece of horror.
This movie is one of those loving homages that feels like Merhige wants to own the original as his own child; nevertheless the casting wins it over with Malkovich portraying Murnau as a sacrificial high priest of cinema and Defoe as an antsy, irritated aging vampire both camera shy and obsessed with the lead actress. It's not a very chilling movie but quietly crazy. --DiB
Murnau is one of my favorite directors, and Nosferatu one of my favorite films. Merhige's Shadow of the Vampire is both a loving tribute to Murnau's classic and a great film in its own right. The film turns between comedy and terror, but never falls into the realm of camp or parody. Merhige asks us to take his work seriously and we are able to do so. And the performances! Max Schreck is loveable and terrifying!
Dafoe is awesome. I would say his most hilarious and frightening performance. If you've ever seen Nosferatu or have any interest in seeing Nosfereatu check it out. Malkovich is a little over the top but not so much that he distracts. Loved it.
An interesting, chilling fictionalization of the making of the classic vampire film "Nosferatu". John Malkovich is wonderful as F.W. Murnau, but Willem Dafoe is the real star of the film. He truly becomes Max Schreck before your eyes. The makeup deserves mention as well.