In Romanian folklore, strigoi are souls of deceived people who are given magical powers to return to the land of the living and seek revenge for the wrongs that they were dealt. Some of these powers include invincibility, the ability to transform into an animal, and the desire to feed on the blood of the living. It is also believed that there are two types of strigoi, the undead that have returned, and strigoi viu which are still living and are more of a vampiric witch.
Strigoi is about Vlad, a failed med student who returns to his small Romanian hometown and ends up in the middle of a murder mystery. Further investigating leads Vlad to believe that the potential murderer is Constantin, an ex-communist who also happens to be the richest person in the village who is buying up all the land. Vlad goes to confront Constantin, only to find that he is a strigoi. It is from that point that Vlad’s world gets flipped upside down as he tries to figure out who is really on the level with him, and what exactly happened in his small village while he was away at med school.
Let me state that Strigoi is not really a horror movie. Sure, it has to do with people coming back from the dead, but it is a dark comedy at it’s roots. The villagers all appear to be so used to the hard life that they live in modern day Romania, that death and the fear of the strigoi is really second nature to them. The only person that seems to find all these things as strange is Vlad, who also appears to be one of the younger people in the village, and perhaps one of the few to leave the dreary confines of his village to travel (in his case med school in Italy) and see just how much there is too life.
The writing is truely the star of this movie. The characters are all interesting and the story, while slow, is extremely engrossing. The cinematography is amazing, showcasing the bleak village and it’s lack of colors and light, and the sheer depressiveness of this part of the world. The blood and gore effects are very well done, and it is nice to see vampiric creatures that are grotesque, and not pretty Twilight or True Blood vampires.
Definitely not your run of the mill vampire movie, and not exactly a horror movie to boot, but if in the mood for an interesting take on a centuries old monster Strigoi is worth looking for. Coming to dvd August 2nd from Breaking Glass Pictures horror branch Vicious Circle Films.