The Vourdalak compels and entrances the viewer with a nightmarish vision of a family and stranger wandering down a road of vampiric horror.

The Vourdalak compels and entrances the viewer with a nightmarish vision of a family and stranger wandering down a road of vampiric horror. The film, written by Adrien Beau (who also directed) and Hadrien Bouvier, stars Ariane LabedKacey Mottet-Klein, and Grégoire Colin. It has been released exclusively in US cinemas by Oscilloscope Laboratories. Being a unique horror story, this film isn’t for every viewer but for many, this will be a welcomed addition to their list of favorites.

The Vourdalak: A Nightmarish Gothic Tale [Review]
Poster for The Vourdalak

Synopsis for The Vourdalak

When the Marquis d’Urfé, a noble emissary of the King of France, is attacked and abandoned in the remote countryside, he finds refuge in an eerie, isolated manor. The resident family, reluctant to take him in, exhibits strange behavior as they await the imminent return of their father, Gorcha. But what begins simply as strange quickly devolves into a full-fledged nightmare when Gorcha returns, seemingly no longer himself. The film was adapted from a novella that predates Bram Stoker’s Dracula by over half a century.

The Vourdalak is not only a film, but an experience, that stays with you forever. It hints toward the iconic storytelling of silent films such as Vampyr. The focus, angles, and distance from the faces of the characters evoke the tone of old horror. Right away, the film draws on a unique aesthetic with the eye soaking in the countryside’s gorgeous and almost ethereal imagery. Wide shots of the landscape and the central home focused on in the film are spectacular.

The Vourdalak: A Nightmarish Gothic Tale [Review]

The performances are incredible, with each actor bringing a captivating amount of depth and tension to their characters in every scene. Bringing forth the tense family dynamics amidst the mysterious return of the patriarch while welcoming in an aristocratic stranger was excellent. I won’t spoil much, but the father’s return is a captivating fever dream in the best way. The sickening duty to masculinity and patriarchal structure is so well examined in The Vourdalak. Through the lens of a gothic vampire tale, this film presents a story that will last through the ages of the horror genre.

The Vourdalak: A Nightmarish Gothic Tale [Review]

The Vourdalak: A Nightmarish Gothic Tale [Review]

The colors in this film have a light haze that ensures a dreamlike state for the viewer. The viewing experience is like being in a constant surreal nightmare mixed with the visuals displayed in the mind when reading a haunted story in classic literature. When in a comforting moment in the film, the tone splits with the deeply upsetting foley and sound work. The squelches and sounds emitted from all around Marquis (Mottet-Klein) during the film produce such a distinctive type of discomfort. These sounds work wonders along with the unsettling camera movements and eerie puppetry that follow you throughout The Vourdalak.

This story is incredibly poignant while also maintaining a sense of spectacular dread woven throughout. While some moments or scenes may have taken me out of the story for a moment, I was able to find myself fully engrossed when it adjusted. This is certainly not a horror film for everyone, but that’s what is so fun about the genre. The nod to classic horror and vampire lore was fantastic and the talent was one of a kind. I’m beyond excited for what is ahead for the cast, director, and crew of The Vourdalak.

‘The Vourdalak’ Review:


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