Based on the book by Annette Curtis Klause, "Blood and Chocolate" is the latest from director Katja von Garnier and a pair of producers from the somewhat similar horror film, "Underworld". The film stars Agnes Bruckner as Vivian, an American living in Paris who works in a chocolate ship and who also just happens to be a werewolf. While she's gotten romantic advances from Gabriel, the head of the werewolves (Olivier Martinez), she doesn't follow the pack.
While Gabriel has set his fangs on Vivian and seeks her to be his next wife, she takes an interest in novelist Adien (Hugh Dancy), who - get this - happens to be working on a graphic novel about werewolves. The more she gets to know him, the more she falls for him, which doesn't exactly please Gabriel, who sends a threat to Adien that results in him getting in deeper than he realized. Vivian, meanwhile, must choose between protecting her werewolf family legacy and secrets or following her heart.
The one aspect of the film that director Katja von Garnier has gotten right is the visuals. The film is stylish without calling too much attention to itself or being too rapid-fire/MTV with the editing. The surreal, dreamlike film also takes advantage of the beautiful locations in Romania, which have a richness and texture. The film's visuals have a real energy that isn't found in other aspects of the film.
The screenplay (credited to Christopher Landon and Ehren Kruger) is has quite a few instances of clunky dialogue and iffy character development, but the performances do not do a whole lot to liven things up. Bruckner, who reminds me a little of Scarlett Johansson and maybe a little of a younger Diane Lane, gives a performance here that threatens to get interesting at times, but mostly just seemed a little too pouty and subdued for my liking. She and Dancy do have a nice chemistry though, and I wished they were together in a different movie. Martinez chews on the scenery a bit in his performance, but it's an underdeveloped character.
"Blood and Chocolate" also suffers from a "defanged" PG-13 rating (and this isn't even be what I would consider a "hard" PG-13), which ultimately results here in a largely unscary scary movie. The movie lacks impact, not only due to the lower rating, but the performances are a bit drab and the screenplay could have used some reworking. While not without some moments and potential, "Blood and Chocolate" is ultimately pretty forgettable.
VIDEO: "Blood and Chocolate" is presented by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. Presentation quality is excellent throughout the show, with the transfer showing off every detail of the locations in Romania. Pleasantly, the presentation shows quite little in the way of edge enhancement and no instances of artifacting or print flaws. Colors remain a tad subdued by intent, but appeared accurately presented, with no smearing or other concerns. Black level also looked solid, as well. While not perfect, this was a very good transfer.
SOUND: "Blood and Chocolate" is presented by Sony Pictures in Dolby Digital 5.1. The film's soundtrack isn't consistently aggressive, but during some of the more intense werewolf scenes the surrounds do kick in with some enjoyable sound effects and ambience. Otherwise, the audio remains fairly front-heavy. Audio quality was just fine, with punchy-sounding effects, bassy score and clear dialogue.
EXTRAS: Director Katja Von Garnier and Actor Olivier Martinez offer a decent audio commentary, as both occasionally offer up some decent details on shooting on location, working with the actors and production issues. However, there's also some noticable pauses of silence, empty praise and small talk to get through. We also get a set of brief deleted scenes, which are nice to see, but wouldn't have really added anything to the film. Finally, there's a set of trailers for other movies from the studio.
Final Thoughts: While not without some moments and potential, "Blood and Chocolate" is ultimately pretty forgettable. The DVD presentation offers excellent video quality and fine audio, as well as a few extras.
The Film C-