Full Moon Features: Blood and Chocolate

Craig J. Clark — Feb. 14th 2014

He’s an artist doing research in Bucharest on the legend of the loup-garous for a graphic novel, she’s a werewolf chocolatier who’s been promised to the leader of her pack when she comes of age — can the two of them get along? Yes, with February’s full moon falling smack dab on Valentine’s Day this year, it’s high time I made 2007’s Blood and Chocolate — based on the young adult novel by Annette Curtis Klause — the subject of a Full Moon Feature. Now, I haven’t read Klause’s novel — largely because I am in no way, shape or form a young adult — but since the movie’s DVD cover trumpets the fact that it is from the producers of Underworld (can’t get away from that, can I?) and The Covenant (a risible 2006 film about teenage warlocks), I must confess my expectations weren’t very high going into it.

Directed by Katja von Garnier from a screenplay by Ehren Kruger and Christopher Landon (who must have felt some kinship with the wolves since he’s the son of erstwhile teenage werewolf Michael Landon), Blood and Chocolate stars Agnes Bruckner as the aforementioned chocolatier who has a meet-spooky with Hugh Dancy (as the aforementioned artist) at the same time she is dreading the arrival of pack leader Olivier Martinez, who gets to pick a new wife every seven years and has apparently had his eye on her even longer. In addition to the inter-pack politics and concerns about staying hidden from the human population, there’s also plenty of backstory to go around, but von Garnier seems most intent on including as many slow-motion shots of people leaping about as she can. She also doesn’t shy away from the cheap-looking CGI shots of people turning into wolves in mid-flight when she really, really should have. (That’s something even the higher-budgeted Twilight movies weren’t able to improve on.) I do have to wonder, though, what happens to the werewolves’ clothing when this happens because none of them are naked when they shape-shift, yet when they turn human again they don’t have a stitch on them. (They’re very modest about their nudity, though. This is, after all, a PG-13 werewolf movie.)

I’m tempted to say my favorite thing about the film is the original score by Tom Tykwer’s frequent musical collaborators Reinhold Heil and Johnny Klimek, but at every turn it’s trumped by the intrusion of icky pop songs which only serve to destroy the mood (and probably didn’t move as many soundtrack albums as the makers wanted them to). As for the film itself, when it was released in theaters seven years ago it quickly sank without a trace, not even cracking the top ten its opening weekend and only making back a fraction of its production costs. I strongly suspect this is the primary reason why we haven’t seen any further adventures of an American werewolf and her human lover in Paris (where they drive at the end of the film) — and why the producers of Underworld and The Covenant decided they’d be better off making another Underworld movie instead.

  • Julius

    Movie was a big let down. The book was 10 times better I assure you. In fact if I ever came into alot of money like hit the lotto or something lol I’d pay to see this movie done rite.

  • Inkshooter

    I remember seeing commercials for this on TV, but only because they were pretty much the last thing I ever saw on a tube set (the family upgraded to plasma about a week later).

    Can’t say I’m a fan of this universe’s werewolves not being former humans. The post-human element is one of the most compelling things about the legend, in my opinion. Still, I have to give her credit for doing the whole werewolves-in-love thing years before Stephanie Meyer’s books reared their ugly head.

  • Lew

    No need to diss on the book just because it’s aimed at younger people, it’s actually quite good.

  • Hooded Justice

    I’m sure it is. Just as I know there are people of all ages who read YA fiction. I’m simply not in the habit of seeking it out myself.

  • Isengrim

    the transformation scenes were lame as hell, i hate the book and the movie with a passion because it set in motion this new and terrible standard for werewolves these day in contemporary media. for those who claim it is accurate to legend, tell me, where the hell in folklore do werewolves use the childish term “alpha” to describe their “self appointed leader” . and what the hell is a mate?! that is just a cheap ass way to refer to a lover you don’t respect enough to call girlfriend/wife or vise versa.grow up people. as a young adult myself, i can honestly say that YA writers should stay away from horror. they obviously have no idea what it is, never did any research, and just didn’t care.