Review: Strigoi

DVD review (region 2)
Directed by Faye Jackson
Starring Catalin Paraschiv, Constantin Barbulescu
Release date Out now

When doctor Vlad Cozma (Paraschiv) returns to his village in Romania after working abroad, he finds one of his much-hated neighbours is dead and the rest of the villagers are acting suspiciously. He eventually suspects a few villagers have been turned into zombie-like beings known as ‘strigoi’…

British filmmaker Faye Jackson attempts an interesting spin on the over-saturated zombie genre by heading out to Romania and drawing on the country’s legend of the ‘strigoi’ – bloodsucking beings that can either be alive or dead. She combines it with a narrative that explores how life in post-Ceauşescu Romania hasn’t entirely escaped the bureaucracy and corruption that blighted the former regime (though despite the setting, the characters speak English, suggesting Jackson is aiming beyond the arthouse crowd).

Though both the film and its slacker doctor hero possess a certain unusual charm, Strigoi isn’t quite the cult classic it may sound. Horror fans will be disappointed at the lack of frights, the comedy is laboured, and the meandering plot gets bogged down in tedious arguments about land ownership. Nevertheless, it has enough style and originality to suggest bigger and better things for Jackson.

Extras include Jackson’s creepy, hospital-set short film Lump. Matt McAllister

VERDICT: 5/10
This horror-comedy is certainly offbeat, but it lacks laughs, scares or coherence.

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