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Van Helsing (Peter Fonda, playing a very clumsy version of the famed
vampire hunter) has just staked Dracula, but when he wants to behead him
and burn him too just to make sure that the fiend stays dead this time
around, the vampire's corpse has already been stolen by Nadja (Elina
Löwensohn), Dracula's daughter, and her slave Renfield (Karl Geary) ...
ironically to behead him and burn him to make sure he stays dead, because
Nadja hated her father much more than Van Helsing ever could.
Of course, Van Helsing doesn't know any of that, all he knows is that
he has to track down Nadja, and he enlists his son Jim's (Martin Donovan)
help for that ... but what even they don't know is that Nadja has
meanwhile started a relationship with Jim's own wife Lucy (Galaxy Craze),
all they see is that Lucy is growing more and more apathic every day.
Nadja meanwhile pays her brother Edgar (Jared Harris) a visit whom she
wants to keep alive forever, but who detessts being a vampire and only
wants to die in peace or live a normal life with his nurse Cassandra (Suzy
Amis), who incidently is Jim's sister. Eventually, Van Helsing and Jim
manage to track down Nadja with the help of entranced Lucy, but before
they can kill her, she escapes with Cassandra, whom she makes her new
consort, and Renfield.
Edgar agrees to use his telepathy to help the vampire hunters track
down Nadja, and in a run-down Romanian castle, the vampire and the vampire
hunters have a final showdown, at the end of which Nadja seems to be
destroyed, and Lucy is relieved of her spell ... but actually, Nadja lives
on in Cassandra, who soon after the ordeal marries Edgar, who can finally
lead a normal life ...
If my synopsis makes this movie sound like a run-of-the-mill vampire
shocker, rest assured it isn't. Nadja, despite its miniscule
budget, is actually a very moody, atmospheric vampire elegy that has more
to do with arthouse cinema than your routine genre picture, it moves at a
deliberately slow pace, takes aesthetic risks (most notably the many
sequences filmed with a Pixelvision Camera, which look like media files
condensed a few times too often) and ever so often puts style over matter.
A hint of irony though - mainly in Peter Fonda's (how did they ever get
him ?) handling of Van Helsing - keeps the film from getting too
It might not be what you have come to expect from a vampire movie, but
if you don't expect a gorefest and can sit through some slow-moving
sequences, you will be rewarded.