Blood & Chocolate (film)

Blood & Chocolate is a 2007 fantasy-horror film directed by Katja von Garnier. It was written by Ehren Kruger and Christopher B. Landon and is loosely based on Annette Curtis Klause's 1997 young adult novel of the same name.

Blood & Chocolate
Theatrical release poster
Directed byKatja von Garnier
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based onBlood and Chocolate
by Annette Curtis Klause
Starring
Music by
CinematographyBrendan Galvin
Edited by
Production
companies
Distributed by
Release date
  • January 26, 2007 (2007-01-26) (USA)
  • February 9, 2007 (2007-02-09) (UK)
  • November 11, 2007 (2007-11-11) (Germany)
Running time
98 minutes[1]
Country
  • United States
  • Germany
  • Romania
  • United Kingdom
Language
  • English
  • German
  • Romanian
Budget$15 million
Box office$6.3 million[2]

An international co-production between the United States, Germany, Romania, and the United Kingdom, Blood & Chocolate was both a commercial[3] and critical failure.[4]

Plot

Vivian (Agnes Bruckner) is a 19-year-old werewolf born in Bucharest, Romania to Romanian parents, who later emigrated to America. When Vivian was nine years old, her parents and two siblings are murdered by two hunters who then burn down their family house.

Orphaned, Vivian moves back to Bucharest to live with her aunt, Astrid who also owns a chocolate store in Bucharest, Romania (Katja Riemann). Astrid is the former mate of the werewolf pack's leader, Gabriel (Olivier Martinez). To Astrid's distress, Gabriel leaves her after seven years to choose a new mate, in accordance with pack law but once in while Gabriel returns to sleep with Astrid. Resulting with Astrid remaining painfully in love with Gabriel. Vivian is disgusted by his actions stating to Gabriel "you come for one day and she cries for a month". Gabriel reveals that he wants the reluctant Vivian as his mate. This is due to a prophecy foretold of a women who will bring about a "new age of hope" for the wolf pack. Gabriel believes Vivian is that woman.

During one of her many late night strolls through the city Vivian breaks into a secured church where she encounters graphic novelist Aiden, who also broke into the church to draw figure studies for the covers of his novels. Aiden is also researching Vivian's kind, the Loups-Garoux (werewolves) for his latest novel. Although Aiden is human Vivian begins a romantic relationship with him. Aiden reveals to Vivian that he can never go home to America because he his wanted for assaulting, in self-defense, his military father. To escape being prosecuted he fled to Europe and began writing novels to which he does not put his name on. Vivian tells Aiden that her family died America but does not reveal why and what she is.

Their romance is closely monitored by Vivian's cousin Rafe (Bryan Dick) and his friends Ulf (Chris Geere), Gregor (Tom Harper), Finn (John Kerr), and Willem (Jack Wilson), together known as "The Five." Due to being Gabriel's son Rafe along with The Five often breaks the pack rules but Gabriel discreetly overlooks Rafe's behavior though occasionally threatens to punish him. Rafe displays micro-aggression towards Vivian due to Gabriel's intentions for her. Rafe is still angry with Gabriel for leaving his mother, Astrid, for another mate. During a visit to the chocolatier shop where Vivian works Rafe sees a drawing that Aiden has made of Vivian, in which she is referred to as "The Wolf Girl." Believing that she is telling Aiden all of their pack's secrets and that she may become a danger to the pack, Rafe tells Gabriel about Aiden. Gabriel then tells Rafe to use any means, bribery or threatening, to make Aiden leave the city or he will die.

Rafe lures Aiden to an abandoned church with the ruse that Vivian wants to reconnect and attempts to scare him away. When this doesn't work, Rafe attacks Aiden, but Aiden defends himself and forces Rafe to back onto a table where he hits his head. Rafe angrily yells and leaps at Aiden while displaying his piercing two colored eyes. After fighting, Aiden attempts to run away but Rafe blocks his path and changes into a wolf. Attempting to bite Aiden, Rafe instead bites into a silver pendent around Aiden's neck. Resulting with Rafe backing off while sneezing. Aiden realizes the myths of the Loup-Garoux are real. Aiden grabs the silver pendant and charges at Rafe, both falling off a balcony railing onto the church floor. Aiden regains consciousness and sees Rafe dying, from the silver pendant on top his neck, in human form. Aiden grabs his silver pendant off of Rafe's body and leaves the church.

Afterwards, Aiden confronts Vivian about her true identity and tempts her to hold the silver pendant. Aiden tells Vivian that he killed Rafe. Aiden yells at Vivian for not telling him the truth and exposing him to danger. Vivian does not immediately tell Astrid about Rafe's death. Meanwhile The Five, who had been searching for the missing Rafe, discovers his body at the abandon church. They take Rafe's body to Gabriel. A saddened Gabriel reveals the news to Astrid while Vivian watches. Aiden is eventually captured, while trying to leave the city by train, by two Loups-Garoux posing as police officers.

The pack gathers in the forest where Gabriel presents Aiden as Rafe's killer and their intended prey. Vivian immediately accuses Gabriel of knowingly sending Rafe to his death over her. Gabriel retorts that Vivian has betrayed the pack and their secrets. Gabriel forces Vivian to wish Aiden well by kiss and has Vivan placed in the back of a car to be dealt with later. Gabriel cuts Aiden's wrist and snatches off his silver pendant. Gabriel tells Aiden that if he makes it to the river at the edge of the forest he will be safe and then forces him to run. Aiden sees the Loups-Garoux pack's eyes glow yellow as he runs into the forest. Vivian escapes from the car and runs into the forest as a wolf to save Aiden. Aiden makes it to the river by confusing the pack, using his blood to spread his scent and making it harder for them to track him. Gabriel, angry that Aiden has escaped, attempts to follow him to kill him anyway. Vivian protects Aiden by fighting Gabriel but almost loses until Gabriel falls off bank of the river. Not recognizing Vivian in wolf form, Aiden strikes her with a silver knife. Vivian, slowly morphing back to human form, starts to bleed, quickly requiring an antidote to silver poisoning or else she will die.

Vivian takes Aiden to an abandoned film company building, she tells Aiden that the film is made of silver and once it absorbs into the bloodstream it stays there. Which guarantees no one will look for them there. Vivian tells Aiden that her family was killed because two hunters followed her wolf tracks back to their cabin. Vivian has felt guilty ever since then, and fears what Aiden would think of her. Aiden tempts Vivian with his blood telling her that she can control the wolf. They make love. Later Astrid arrives at the building with a gun to kill Aiden. Vivian pleads with Astrid not kill Aiden, telling her that Aiden is her first love and she should understand what it's like to loose a soulmate. Astrid relents and gives Vivian her gun for protection. Vivian tells Astrid that they are going to the pharmacist for an antidote and then leaving the city.

The pharmacist provides Vivian with the antidote but also alerts Gabriel. After being chased, Vivian tells Aiden to save himself and then is captured by the pack herself. She is held in a cage and taunted by the rest of The Five while Gabriel attempts to manipulate her to his way of thinking. Meanwhile Aiden forces the pharmacist at gun point to give him all of his antidotes, silver dust and bullets. Aiden comes to Vivian's rescue and, in the end, Vivian kills Gabriel and helps the remaining members of the The Five to escape the building fire while telling them "may you know the new age of hope when you see it".

To prevent themselves from being captured again Vivian suggest they take Gabriel's car. Aiden and Vivian drive out the city towards Paris, passing other Loups-Garoux, who bare their necks in respect, believing that it is Gabriel in the car.

Cast

Production

Beginning in 1997, a series of five directors entered into talks to direct Blood & Chocolate before Katja von Garnier finally decided to work on the film in January 2005. Larry Williams and his wife, Leslie Libman, Po-Chih Leong, Sanji Senaka, and Rupert Wainwright were all considered. Throughout these talks, Blood and Chocolate author, Annette Curtis Klause, was not kept up-to-date by the film's producers. Rather, she obtained information about film's progression from online sources.[5]

The book was originally adapted into a script by Christopher Landon, whose father, Michael Landon, had a leading role in the film I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957).[6]

Principal photography was set in the historic section of Bucharest and at MediaPro Studios in Buftea. However, the film failed to accurately represent the city of Bucharest. For example, the film's Piata Romana (Romana Square) is actually the Curtea Veche yard (Old Court), and the film's Biserica Silvestru (Silvestru Church, located in downtown Bucharest) is actually a church in Stirbey Palace, Buftea, which is located tens of kilometers west of Bucharest.

Music

The film's score was composed by Reinhold Heil and Johnny Klimek. The soundtrack consists of 15 songs, none of which are featured in the film.

Songs featured in the film
  1. "Garab" - Rachid Taha
  2. "Let Yourself Go Wild" - Jasmin Tabatabai
  3. "Velvet Hills" - Katja Riemann
  4. "You Know the Truth" - Aurah
  5. "Cash Machine" - Hard-Fi
  6. "Amor Fati" - Aurah
  7. "Silence Summons You" - The Sofa Club
  8. "Eu Te Iubesc Prea Mult" - Nicolae Guta
  9. "Stand My Ground" - Within Temptation

Variation from novel

The film has significant differences from the plot and characters presented in Annette Curtis Klause's 1997 young adult novel of the same name.

In the film, Vivian and Aiden are portrayed older than their characters in the novel, and meet under different circumstances. In the novel, they both attend the same high school, and Vivian seeks Aiden out after reading a poem he wrote about werewolves.

In the film, Gabriel is portrayed as an aggressive antagonist, ruling by force and fear. In the novel, he is a new addition to the pack, and wins his mantle of leadership in the Ordeal according to the Old Way.

Additionally, the relationship between Gabriel and Vivian in the novel is vastly different from how it is depicted in the film, and the nature of the Loups-Garoux is more bloodthirsty and vengeful towards humans in the film.

Several other details are distinctly different in the film adaptation. Vivian's background story is changed, as well as the fate of her family.

Release

Box office

Blood & Chocolate opened on January 26, 2007 in 1,200 theaters. The film earned $2,074,300 during its opening weekend, ranking sixteenth at the domestic box office.[7] By the end of its run, a little over two months later, the film had grossed $3,526,847 domestically and $2,784,270 overseas for a worldwide total of $6,311,117.[2]

Critical reception

Blood & Chocolate was panned by critics. On review-aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an 11% rating based on 74 reviews, with a weighted average of 3.6/10. The site's Critics Consensus reads: "Cheap CG effects and laughable dialogue make Blood and Chocolate worse than the usual werewolf flick".[8] On Metacritic, it has a 33 out of 100 rating from 16 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews."[9]

The New York Times critic Jeannette Catsoulis gave a negative review, saying the film is "uninvolving and cliché-ridden (even shape-shifters, it seems, deserve a falling-in-love montage), Blood & Chocolate is Romeo and Juliet with fewer manners and more exotic dentition. Cribbing shamelessly from Joel Schumacher's 1987 vampire classic, The Lost Boys, the director, Katja von Garnier, perches her pack on roofs and in rafters — an aerial lifestyle that works for bats but seems a bit of a stretch for wolves."the original.[10]

Footnotes

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