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TAC Reviews...Blood and Chocolate

 

Blood and Chocolate is a 2007 werewolf film…for a background that is really all I have got to say about it

 

Blood and Chocolate

 

The two biggest horror earners have to be vampires and zombies with werewolves coming a close second. Personally I quite like the idea of a werewolf and again like vampires can be open to different interpretations. Are they off-shoots of humanity, an entirely seperate species? Or are they human beings who have been transformed? Can they learn to control their animal instincts or does the wolf eventually win out transforming them for good??

 

All these questions have occoured to me at one time or another and have featured in various novels and short stories that I have written. I try to write something a bit different and unique, it is always refreshing to see films like Blood and Chocolate, you know things that have NOTHING unique or interesting to add to a genre getting released whilst my own work gets rejection after rejection, bitter? Moi??

 

So here's the gist, every seven years the leader of a werewolf pack chooses a new mate to rule beside him, and this time he has set his sights on the lovely Vivian. Unfortunately she has already fallen in love with a human, and the werewolves will stop at nothing to destroy their love forever.

 

Blood and Chocolate is very loosely based on a novel with the same name by Annette Curtis Klause, and was adapted into a screenplay by Ehren Kruger. The story follows Vivian, a member of a pack of werewolves, and concerns a prophecy in which her mating with Gabriel will result in an ‘age of hope’ for the whole pack.

 

The film opens in a nightclub with a sexy woman dancing with a young man who becomes a little too friendly. She rejects him and leaves. The young man follows and kills her. It turns out that the man named Rafe (Bryan Dick) is also a werewolf, and his pack is about to welcome a new mate Vivian (Agnes Bruckner) for their leader Gabriel (Olivier Martinez).

 

Later Vivian breaks into a church where she meets Aiden (Hugh Dancy). He is fascinated by the carvings and imagery in the church believing that they have something to do with werewolves. Aiden is obviously smitten with Vivian but she slips away before he can learn much about her. He discovers where she works and pursues her for a while. Ultimately she decides to give him a chance and she eventually falls for him.

 

When Gabriel learns that his intended mate is with someone else, he dispatches Rafe and the rest of the pack to get Aiden out of the way by whatever means necessary.

 

Even though Blood and Chocolate is based on a novel, it seems that a lot of the differences between the book and film happened when Ehren Kruger wrote the screenplay. The werewolves in Blood and Chocolate seem to have more in common with Anne Rice’s vampires than any previous incarnations of werewolves. They seem to be mystical animals, loyal to their pack, but still romantic creatures living in the void between the human and animal world.

 

The members of the pack display animal-like behaviour regardless of whether they are in human or animal form, and there are numerous occasions when they are seen leaping from rooftop to rooftop. They also change from human to animal in a flash of light. The slow, painful and horrific transformation witnessed in An American Werewolf in London is nowhere to be seen as the pack effortlessly become animals. The werewolves also don’t seem to be any bigger than a regular wolf so if you are hoping to see something of the size and terrifying presence as the wolf glimpsed in Werewolf in London then you are going to be very disappointed.

 

There is never anything wrong with experimenting and attempting to push the boundaries of a genre. Unfortunately, the same people that ask for something new are also the first to complain if an idea is too outside the established rules for a genre. The werewolf pack is an off-shoot of humanity and humans cannot become werewolves even if they are bitten. That is an idea that I am fine with, who ever said that werewolves are species of infected humans rather than their own race? So fine, go with it. Regrettably the transformation happens in a flash of light, er, why exactly can they do that? I mean no other species in the animial kingdom undergoes a metamorphosis in that manner before so why do these wolves transform in such a way?

 

At this stage it is not really the design of the wolves or the way they transform that annoyed me the most. Nor is it the gaping plot hole in which Gabriel’s previous mate has aged and for some reason he has not, which the film helpfully doesn't bother to explain. It isn’t even the fact that Rafe goes after and subsequently kills an innocent woman who has done nothing but tell him to piss off when he got too touchy-feely with her.

 

No, the biggest problem with Blood and Chocolate is undoubtedly Aiden. He meets Vivian in a church and whilst the sparks fly for him, she is obviously not interested and even runs away trying to lose him in the maze of streets. She manages to do this so instead of getting the point that she is clearly not interested in him, he later tracks her down to her workplace where she again rejects him. But he is still not put off by her lack of interest. I mean I’ve heard of flogging a dead horse but this is ridiculous and has more than a little creepy-stalker overtone to it. Yet still he continues to pursue her until finally she agrees to go out with him. So they go out on a date and finally it looks like she might be interested in him too but then later, when he discovers she is a werewolf he demands to know how she could have let him get close to her.

 

Are you fucking joking Aiden??

 

You  have the trademarks of a stalker, this woman constantly fled from you, rejected you over and over, yet you wouldn’t take no for an answer, and followed her around until she finally gives in. Then you have the nerve to have a go at her for letting you get close?? What a complete and utter asshole. Besides at what point is a young member of a werewolf pack supposed to tell her new boyfriend that she can transform into an animal whenever the hell she feels like it? Is it a first date conversation or is it the kind of thing you ask about when giving her a damn good pounding and she starts barking?? I had enough trouble telling my skin sack's last girlfriend that I shave my chest so when the dickens would you drop the whole “I’m a werewolf” bombshell?

 

I really have no idea what Blood and Chocolate is trying to do. I mean there is really no reason why there could not have been in instant attraction between Vivian and Aiden, an attraction that frightens her due to her heritage, so she flees and he does not pursue her. She is an artist so why could she have not dropped her sketch book and Aiden returns to it to her, suggests they go out and even though it goes against her responsibilities Vivian cannot resist her attraction to him so they go out and blah, blah, blah. See how easy that story was to think of? Yes it is not original but nothing about this film is anyway. What is it trying to show to a young male audience, is it that if they like a girl and her obvious attempts to get away are simply her playing hard to get and they should not be put off. This is how you breed stalkers filmmakers and it certainly does not leave me rooting for Aiden or the completely blank Vivian. There is also a bit near the end when Aiden is captured and the pack hunt him down in wolf-form. The scene is not exactly tense but just as he is cornered another wolf (Vivian in her animal form) intervenes and fights off the other wolves. It is, at this point Aiden stabs her because he didn’t realise that the one wolf defending him from the rest of the pack could be his girlfriend, who is the only one of the pack who does not want to see him dead…so not only is Aiden a stalker he is also thick as pig shit.

 

The werewolves being an off-shoot of humanity is fine and the whole idea of two people coming together regardless of their allegiances is a classic (obviously Romeo and Juliet or even Micheal and Salene from Underworld for a more recent example). However, there are too many characters that are just thoroughly unlikable; Rafe killing an innocent girl for rejecting him makes him seem incredibly petty and a massive dick. The rest of the cast seem completely uninterested in their roles and are just going through the motions for their pay checks. Still it is Aiden as a creepy stalker who actually gets the girl that really ruins what could have been a decent film.

 

This is just an idea off the top of my head…instead of this bullshit why did we not have Vivian being pursued by a love-sick stalker, and rather than falling for him, she does what is required of her, mates with Gabriel, and as one she and the pack hunt the stalker-prick down and rip him apart. Surely that is a little more original and is the nicest thing you could do to a character with as many personality flaws as Aiden.

 

Do you know what this film is?? It is Twilight but unlike that mess which has a brooding bloke and bland woman, here we have a bland man and a brooding woman. Except unlike Twilight, Blood and Chocolate was the dismal failure that Twilight deserved to be and might be why you are planning on going on Wikipedia to look up when the fuck this film existed (it was 2007 I said that at the top of the page remember?). However, at least Blood and Chocolate had a bit of action towards the end that was able to slightly drag it up from the cesspool of failure that Twilight wallows in.

 

You will therefore not be surprised when I give Blood and Chocolate a massive Thumbs Down

 

 

2/10 - Very poor film that will leave any lover of the werewolf genre disappointed and wishing they had watched a re-run of An American Werewolf in London.

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© Chris Sharman