In recent days it seems that most horror remakes are doomed to be critically panned and hated by fans of the original. However, in this case, the film has received and maintained a positive reaction from audiences. Updating the material, Nosferatu The Vampyre is a great re-telling of the events of the original.
While it follows the plot of the original very closely, the remake avoids being a pure shot for shot copy by adding in new scenes and refining the old ones. Once again our protagonist, who has been renamed Jonathan Harker, travels up to the old castle of the deadly vampire Count Dracula. Yet again the Count travels to Harker’s home town and brings death in his wake, but with less enthusiasm than before. This faithful following of the story is horribly rare among the mix these days so it’s good to see a story that stays true to the source material.
Like most of the material the visuals are upgraded to give the film a newer look. Though it falls into the trap of adding more blood than before this time it was the film makers simply taking advantage of the more advanced effects that were available. The appearance of the vampires is quite striking if not quite as good as in the original. In this Dracula just looks like an especially ugly man rather than how he did in the old film which had him look a bit like a rat or a spider. Though far from a visual masterpiece the remake is equal to that of the first film and sometimes even surpasses it.
The acting is largely successful, but there are just one or two faults in there. Klaus Kinski is near hypnotic as the lonely and pathetic Count Dracula who yearns for love musch as he did in the later Coppola film. Bruno Ganz is pretty good in the role of Jonathan Harker and is comparable to Gustav Von Wangenheim from the original. Isabelle Adjani is arguably the best after Kinski; the only problem I have with her is calling her character Lucy Harker and making Mina a minor background character. Walter Ladengast is perfectly acceptable as Van Helsing, but not nearly as good as Anthony Hopkins and Edward Van Sloan. The epitome of annoyance plagues the cast in the form of one very, very irritating reimagining of the character Renfield. Thank you, Roland Topor.
Unlike the kind of films you see floating around these days that have the titles of old classics slapped on their foreheads, Nosferatu The Vampyre is a magnificent update of a classic horror film. It would be upsetting to not give it a watch.