Strigoi: The Undead Movie Review
Written by Steve "Alien Redrum" Pattee
DVD released by Vicious Circle Films
Written and directed by Faye Jackson
2009, 94 minutes, Not Rated
DVD released on August 2nd, 2011
Catalin Paraschiv as Vlad Cozma
Camilia Maxim as Mara Tomsa
Constantin Barbulescu as Constantin Tirescu
Rudi Rosenfeld as Nicolea Cozma
If someone were to ask you to classify Fargo in a genre, what would you say? You could call it a comedy, as it certainly has its share of black humor. You could call it a murder mystery, as it easily falls into that category. Drama fits, as does thriller, but to chop it down to one main genre is damn near impossible since the film so seamlessly mixes them all. The same could be said about Strigoi: The Undead, a film that seems to defy all genres.
Part black comedy, part mystery and part horror, Strigoi: The Undead follows Vlad, fresh back from Italy, as he investigates the death of Florin. Seems that Florin died while Vlad was away and somehow Vlad's name validated the death certificate. Even though he wasn't around. Or even a doctor. Naturally a little pissed, he questions the people of his small town in an attempt to find out what exactly happened to Florin, and why the hell everyone is acting so strange.
What Vlad doesn't know is the townsfolk made an assumption about who killed Florin and they dealt out some old school vigilante justice on those they thought responsible: Constantin and Illeana — who also happen to not just be the richest couple in the village, but everyone seems to be indebted to them somehow as well. The problem is, though, even though Constantin and Illeana were apparently killed in the first few minutes of the movie, the not-yet-doctor has a conversation with Constantin, who points him to some information on the real reason Florin died. This doesn't sit well with those involved.
There's a lot to love about Strigoi: The Undead. While there are little horror elements in it (you have the strigoi, of course, which are Romanian vampires), fans of the genre will like its dark humor. The movie does well at making you laugh both appropriately as well as uncomfortably. Its biggest strength, by far, is Catalin Paraschiv as the bumbling Vlad. The character isn't an annoying one (like, say, Inspector Clouseau), nor is he an idiot, but he's so nonchalant in finding out what happened to Florin, you end up laughing at the predicaments he unknowingly gets into — especially when his main source is supposedly dead.
The movie is a bit drawn out with its 106 minute running time, as there are moments where you just wish things would move along a bit faster. However, that dragging is made up for with a rather compelling story. Writer / director Faye Jackson does a decent job in stringing along the mystery up until the end and, all things considered, it's quite simple and effective.
While Strigoi: The Undead is one of those movies that almost defies description, it's an enjoyable film and a satisfying watch. Breaking Glass Pictures (the parent company of Vicious Circle Films) has put out an misleading trailer for the film, making it appear a wacky horror comedy with the undead, and Strigoi is a much smarter movie than that. The humor is subtle, the acting solid and it's far from wacky. Give it a spin if you dig films like Heathers or Fargo. It's not quite as good as those, but it's definitely worth checking out at least once.
Video, Audio and Special features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.