Vampyr ★★★

The weakest Dreyer film I've seen thus far, a terminally ordinary horror tale lifted up only slightly by the director and Rudolph Maté's impressively agile camerawork. Apart from a haunting scene of dancing shadows and some of the stunning point-of-view shots, it doesn't really contain any imagery that wasn't already explored more enthusiastically by Murnau, Browning, Wiene, even Griffith (see A Corner in Wheat) -- and let's be honest, this precise story was already overly familiar in Nosferatu, from which we unfortunately inherit the endless scenes of characters reading a book about vampires.

Must admit my disappointment probably stems at least partially from my watching this on Image's extremely problematic DVD release, which I used in lieu of Filmstruck because it was free in a donation bin, a choice I quickly came to regret -- it's one of those dire transfers that constantly oscillates between modern title cards and vintage footage, which I find inexpressibly annoying.

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