Review: Strigoi (2009)

Review: Strigoi (2009)

A British-Romanian vampire film that’s way too convoluted for its own good

My latest watch was a happenstance film chosen from Netflix (yet again).  I like to see what foreign films have to offer in the way of vampire stories, so when I saw Strigoi, a Romanian-based vampire tale, I had to give it a chance.  It’s a Romanian film, shot in Romania with Romanian actors, but it was put together by a British company, so the film is all done in English.  As it turns out, the ease of understanding the language did nothing to help with understanding the point of the film.  In fact, I’m beginning to wonder if there was a point to this movie at all.

The basic story is pretty simple at first.  It’s set in modern times in a small Romanian village.  The opening scene has a group of villagers killing a rich couple and burying them in an unmarked grave by the railroad tracks.  This is followed by a thorough looting of the couple’s home, complete with musical accompaniment.

Enter the main character, Vlad.  He’s a former medical student who went off to Italy and came back after a brief career in fast food.  He discovers that someone has died and everyone is acting suspicious about it.  The dead man is not one of the couple from the first scene, but presumably someone that was murdered by them, thus giving rise to the execution.  To make matters even more suspicious, the dead man has marks on his neck that suggest strangulation.  And so our hero, Vlad, decides to look into what happened.

He eventually uncovers some real estate scams that have been going on, runs into dead people who have returned as strigoi (vampires) and discovers some interesting things about his own family.  There are other things going on in the background, mostly concerning characters whose motivations seem almost nonexistent at times.

It felt like the movie was trying to follow three separate storylines with no intention of brining any of them to a close.  They overlap as a necessity of the movie, but each is only incidental to the others.  I was left wondering whether I had just watched one movie or three shorts that accidently got edited together.

There are some fun moments and clever humor in the film.  Also, the director and the cast do an excellent job with what they have to work with.  But in the end, it was more confusing than anything else.  Even the interesting characters couldn’t keep this one from wandering all over the place.

Strigoi is one of those films that people who like to figure out the meaning of films might want to watch.  If you happen to be one of those types, give this movie a shot.  And if you figure out what the thing was about, please let me know, because I’ve given up on trying to understand it.