She’s said to be the world’s most notorious murderess, but this lavish production suggests seventeenth-century Hungarian noblewoman Elizabeth Bathory has had a bad rap. Her reputation, reckons this bustling, barely coherent saga, was muddied by a rival aristo, while her behaviour could be explained by the potions of a sinister sorceress. Turns out she didn’t bathe in virgins’ blood, as per legend, but enjoyed a soak in a red herbal concoction. The film presents all this as significant, but the director and ten writers are so immersed in minutiae – including a credibility-stretching affair with Caravaggio – that they never work out why anyone should care. So, we get a jumble of battles, plotting, torture, painting and nudity, and only the dire English dialogue leavens the tedium. Anna Friel displays grim determination as Bathory.
Cast and crew