Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead

Film
3 out of 5 stars
THEATER OF BLOOD Ventimiglia, right, smells dinner.
THEATER OF BLOOD Ventimiglia, right, smells dinner.

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Like the vampires that cavort throughout it, this horror-comedy doesn’t have much chance of surviving the harsh light of scrutiny—but as a loopy, antiserious lark, it should prove plenty alive on the midnight-movie circuit. The zanily creative brainchild of NYC indie-pop entrepreneur Jordan Galland (who wrote and directed), the film has a sugary downtown vibe to it, neither gory nor gritty. Babe-slaying underachiever Julian (Hoffman), living in his doctor dad’s office, finds himself drafted into directing a theatrical production of Hamlet. The play’s financier and amateur Horatio, pallid Theo (Ventimiglia), is an actual bloodsucker; hipsterish Julian, thrilled to be at work, hardly notices, but wonders why everyone feels they can freely stray from the text.

Tonally, the movie is tugged in several directions, not all of them successful; composer Sean Lennon bathes it in Danny Elfman--like manic waltzing, while Galland seems to be in more of a chummy mind-set, la Wes Anderson. (Original Karate Kid Ralph Macchio, as a how-you-doin’ blowhard, comes from yet a third planet.) The flick works best when it’s taking the piss out of—and celebrating—theater types. Will you ever see another film in which Hamlet’s name is screamed histrionically in a fake Egyptian desert?—Joshua Rothkopf

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