Screamfest 2017: Vidar the Vampire FILM REVIEW
VIDAR THE VAMPIRE
Directors: Thomas Aske Berg and Fredrik Waldeland
Screenplay by Thomas Aske Berg and Fredrik Waldeland
Starring: Thomas Aske Berg, Brigt Skrettingland, Kim Sønderholm, Henrik Rafaelsen
**** out of *****
In VIDAR THE VAMPIRE, Vidar (Thomas Aske Berg) finds out the hard way that life as a vampire ain't all it's cracked up to be.
Party all night. Sleep all day. Just knowing that may be enough for someone to want to live out their days as a vampire. Immortality. Irresistible to both men and woman. The ability to transform. Incredible strength. Seriously, who wouldn't want to be a vampire? Bram Stoker's literary classic Dracula has been the inspiration for countless films about these undead creatures of the night. DRACULA (1931), NOSFERATU (1922), THIRST (2009), FRIGHT NIGHT (1985), THE LOST BOYS (1987), MARTIN (1978), THE LITTLE VAMPIRE (2000), A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT (2014) and WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS (2014) are just a small sampling of the diverse cinematic offerings about vampires. Thomas Aske Berg and Fredrik Waldeland horror/comedy VIDAR THE VAMPIRE is the latest film on the subject which irrefutably shows us it's hard out here for a vamp.
VIDAR THE VAMPIRE certainly has plenty to offer in terms of laughs and gasps. Most notably this not so veiled allegory about religion could easily offend anyone with a proclivity towards Christianity or any other similar faith. One of the film's funniest bits involves Vidar's coming out as the undead. You'll just have to see it to believe it. The film passes as a very different interview with the vampire as Vidar chronicles his life story for his disbelieving psychologist. Vidar wanted something more in life and prayed hard for a change and got it in the worst way. What's the old adage? Be careful what you wish for or in his case what you pray for.
Thomas Aske Berg not only directs and writes but also stars as the title character. He is quite an engaging and funny actor. Even though the material is meant for laughs he never plays it that way. The character is funny when need be and elicits sympathy when warranted. On the opposite side of the spectrum is Brigt Skrettingland who plays a gregarious, verile and iconic vampire for the ages. So he's Dracula, the Prince of Darkness? Nope, he's Jesus. Yes, that one. See what I mean by not so veiled allegory? Anyways Skrettingland is great as the vampire who changes Vidar's life and tries to help him adapt to his new life.
VIDAR THE VAMPIRE is very much in the same vein as the Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement directed mocumentary from 2014. It presents audiences with a different take on the genre that is fresh and funny. It may not be as funny as WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS but its heart is certainly in the right place. Berg and Waldeland inject enough wit and pathos into the story that you can't help but root for and feel sorry for Vidar. You have to admire them for having the audacity to make the source of our hero's damnation the one true savior which provides the film with some of its biggest laughs.
Berg and Waldeland make a solid feature film directorial debut with this funny and entertaining vampire tale. It's an original take on a very familiar story which serves both as religious and social allegory. While it takes a tongue in cheek approach to the many tropes of the genre it still plays out in a very respectful fashion and wholly embraces its conceit. You may feel the vampire genre has already bitten off more than it can chew, you may be right, but you'd be doing yourself a disservice by skipping out on this one. Remember, the power of Christ compels you to see it.
***** = Outstanding ****1/2 = Excellent **** = Very Good ***1/2 = Above Average
*** = Good **1/2 = Mediocre ** = Fair *1/2 = Poor * = Bad 1/2* = Abysmal