Blood & Chocolate (film)
|Blood & Chocolate|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Katja von Garnier|
Blood and Chocolate|
by Annette Curtis Klause
|Box office||$6.3 million|
Blood & Chocolate is a 2007 fantasy-horror film directed by Katja von Garnier. It was written by Ehren Kruger and Christopher B. Landon, and is loosely based on Annette Curtis Klause's 1997 young adult novel of the same name.
Vivian (Agnes Bruckner) is a 19-year-old werewolf born in Bucharest, Romania to Romanian parents who then emigrate to America. When Vivian is nine years old, her parents and two siblings are killed by two hunters who then burn down their house.
Orphaned, Vivian moves back to Bucharest to live with her aunt, Astrid (Katja Riemann), who is the current mate of the pack's leader, Gabriel (Olivier Martinez). To Astrid's distress, Gabriel leaves her after seven years, in accordance with pack law, to choose a new mate. Only a few months later, Gabriel reveals that he wants the reluctant Vivian as his mate.
Vivian, however, begins a romance with graphic novelist Aiden (Hugh Dancy), who is researching his latest book. Although he is human, Aiden knows much about Vivian's kind, the Loups-Garoux (werewolves).
Their romance is closely watched by her cousin Rafe (Bryan Dick) and his friends Ulf (Chris Geere), Gregor (Tom Harper), Finn (John Kerr) and Willem (Jack Wilson), together known as "The Five." Rafe sees a drawing that Aiden did of Vivian in which she is referred to as "The Wolf Girl." Believing that she is telling Aiden all of their pack's secrets and that she may become a danger to the pack, Rafe tells Gabriel about Aiden. Gabriel then tells Rafe that Aiden must leave or he will be dealt with.
Rafe lures Aiden to an abandoned church with the ruse that Vivian wants to reconnect and attempts to scare him away. When this doesn't work, Rafe attacks Aiden, but Aiden defends himself and forces Rafe back into a table where he cuts himself. Aiden, who did not previously know what Vivian and her friends were, sees the golden glow of the Loup-Garou and realizes that Vivian is one as well. The two fight, with Aiden attacking Rafe with a silver pendant. Rafe then turns into a wolf. Aiden eventually gains the upper hand, killing Rafe.
Afterward, Aiden confronts Vivian about her true identity, tempting her with his blood. She does not give in, but is hurt that Aiden would think that she is a monster.
Not long after, Aiden is captured by the pack to answer for the murder of Rafe, who is revealed to be Gabriel's son. He is made to run through the forest while being chased by the pack. If the pack catches him, he dies. If he makes it to the river and crosses it, he lives. Vivian becomes scared for him and changes into her wolf form, a white wolf, to save him from the pack.
Aiden makes it to the river by confusing the pack, using his blood to spread his scent and making it harder for them to track him. Gabriel, angry that Aiden has escaped, attempts to follow him to kill him anyway. Vivian helps to protect Aiden by throwing Gabriel off his scent. Not recognizing Vivian in wolf form, Aiden strikes her with a silver knife. Vivian starts to bleed to death, quickly requiring an antidote to silver poisoning.
After hiding from the pack, Aiden and Vivian find the pharmacist who has the antidote for the silver poisoning and steal it from him, but not before the pharmacist calls the rest of the pack. After being chased, Vivian tells Aiden to save himself, and then is captured by the pack. She is held in a cage and taunted by the rest of The Five while Gabriel attempts to manipulate her to his way of thinking. Aiden comes to Vivian's rescue and, in the end, Vivian must kill Gabriel.
Aiden and Vivian drive away, passing other Loups-Garoux, who bare their necks in respect, hinting that Vivian might be the new leader of the pack.
- Agnes Bruckner as Vivian Gandillon
- Hugh Dancy as Aiden
- Olivier Martinez as Gabriel
- Katja Riemann as Astrid
- Bryan Dick as Rafe
- Chris Geere as Ulf
- Tom Harper as Gregor
- John Kerr as Finn
- Jack Wilson as Willem
- Vitalie Ursu as Constani
- Bogdan Voda as Albu
- Kata Dobó as Beatrice
- Maria Dinulescu as Girl in Red
- Mihai Gruia Sandu as Pharmacist
Since 1997, five directors, namely Larry Williams (and his wife), Leslie Libman, Po-Chih Leong, Sanji Senaka, and Rupert Wainwright, were in talks to film Blood & Chocolate before Katja von Garnier finally decided in January 2005 to direct the film. The book was originally adapted into a script by Christopher Landon, whose father, Michael Landon, had a leading role in the film I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957).
Principal photography was set in the historic section of Bucharest and at MediaPro Studios in Buftea. However, like many American films based in Bucharest, it failed to accurately represent real places in the city. For example, the Piata Romana (Romana Square) is actually the Curtea Veche yard (Old Court, a destroyed old palace), and Biserica Silvestru (Silvestru Church, in downtown Bucharest) is actually a church in Stirbey Palace, Buftea, a few tens of kilometers west of Bucharest.
- Songs featured in the film
- "Garab" - Rachid Taha
- "Let Yourself Go Wild" - Jasmin Tabatabai
- "Velvet Hills" - Katja Riemann
- "You Know the Truth" - Aurah
- "Cash Machine" - Hard-Fi
- "Amor Fati" - Aurah
- "Silence Summons You" - The Sofa Club
- "Eu Te Iubesc Prea Mult" - Nicolae Guta
- "Stand My Ground" - Within Temptation
Variation from novel
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The film has significant differences from the plot and characters as developed in Annette Curtis Klause's 1997 young adult novel of the same name. This has led to criticism that the film should have changed its production name, as nothing was retained from Klause's novel other than character names.
The title of the film, "Blood & Chocolate", is derived from the conclusion of the novel:
"He was raw and sharp and rich and throbbing with life. He was sweet blood after a long hunt. How could she have mistaken Aiden's kisses for this? They had been delicious and smooth like the brief comfort of chocolate, but they had never been enough."
In the film, Vivian and Aiden were portrayed older than their characters in the novel, and met under different circumstances. In the novel they both attended the same high school and Vivian sought Aiden out after reading a poem he wrote about werewolves and the pair began to date despite the disapproval that Vivian received from her mother and the pack. When she eventually reveals what she is to Aiden, he rejected her fearfully and later tried to kill Vivian with a silver bullet believing her to be a murderer.
Additionally, in the film, Gabriel was portrayed as an aggressive antagonist ruling by force and fear. In the novel, he is a new addition to the pack and wins his mantle of leadership in the Ordeal according to the Old Way. The relationship between Gabriel and Vivian in the novel was much more complex and vastly different than the one depicted in the film. Originally, Gabriel was interested in Vivian before he became alpha and Vivian unintentionally declares herself his mate and equal when she defends her mother from Astrid during the ritual of the Bitches Dance (the counterpart to the Ordeal by which Gabriel becomes alpha). Afterwards, Vivian declares she does not want to be alpha and continually rejects Gabriel, who despite this continually helps Vivian as she deals with her relationship with Aiden and its eventual fallout - comforting her on multiple occasions. When he came to save Vivian from Astrid, Rafe and Aiden, he originally meant to spare the human boy out of love for Vivian, but when Vivian takes a bullet meant to kill Gabriel, he threatens Aiden with death if he comes back after any of them or spills the pack's secret to other humans. The novel ends with Gabriel and Vivian sharing a kiss and a run in their wolf forms, Vivian embraces her place as alpha female alongside Gabriel and her place as his mate.
The film depicts the nature of the Loups-Garoux very differently. The film portrays the pack as bloodthirsty and vengeful towards humans, seen hunting them down for sport on every full moon. In the film, Aiden was subject to this event due to his relationship with Vivian, whereas in the novel none of this occurs. The pack is also depicted of having a tradition where the alpha male takes a new mate every seven years, and Gabriel chose Vivian to be his next mate after Astrid - again none of this occurred in the novel. Instead, an alpha male and female is decided by the Ordeal and The Bitches Dance, respectively. However, it is hinted that if a male was mated when he competes and wins in the Ordeal, his mate will be alpha female and no dance will occur.
It also omits their ability to maintain hybrid forms where they have both features of wolf and human. This was an important aspect as at the end of the conflict with Aiden, Vivian becomes stuck in this form until Gabriel comforted her and helped her overcome her fear and heartache, and achieved the ability to shift once again.
The general plot of the book is completely different from what occurs in the film. Vivian's background story was changed entirely, as well as the fate of her family. Also, at the start of the film, Astrid is shown as Gabriel's past mate and wife, they share a son - Rafe. In the book, Astrid is not alpha female at any point. She tries to gain the romantic interest of Gabriel and attacked Esme in the Bitches Dance to win the right to be Gabriel's mate, but was defeated by Vivian. Astrid is the main antagonist in the novel. She seeks revenge on Vivian for winning the Dance and becoming Gabriel's mate. She seduced Rafe and gained his help in setting up Vivian to believe she had murdered a couple of humans during blackout episodes. None of this plot appears in the film and instead is recycled as the whole pack ritualistically hunt humans.
Blood & Chocolate opened on January 26, 2007 in 1,200 theaters. The film earned $2,074,300 during its opening weekend, ranking number 16 in the domestic box office. By the end of its run, a little over two months later, the film had grossed $3,526,847 domestically and $2,784,270 overseas for a worldwide total of $6,311,117.
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Blood & Chocolate was panned by critics. On review-aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an 11% rating based on 63 reviews. On Metacritic, the film has a 33 out of 100 rating from 16 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews." Jeannette Catsoulis, a New York Times movie critic, referred to the movie as a cliché version of Romeo and Juliet, yet with less demeanor than the original. 
- "BLOOD AND CHOCOLATE (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. January 30, 2007. Retrieved April 8, 2015.
- "Blood and Chocolate (2007)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. March 30, 2007. Retrieved April 8, 2015.
- "Blood and Chocolate at director's site (de icon)".
- "Interview with author Annette Curtis Klause".
- Klause, Annette Curtis (1997). Blood and chocolate. New York: Delacorte Press. ISBN 0385734212.
- "Weekend Box Office Results for January 26-28, 2007". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. January 29, 2007. Retrieved April 8, 2015.
- "Blood & Chocolate". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved July 2, 2013.
- "Blood and Chocolate". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 8, 2015.
- Catsoulis, Jeannette. "Yes, She Has a Sweet Tooth, but She's a Major Carnivore". The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved 13 June 2018.