Dampyr, between vampires and war. Review of the first Bonelli film

The origin story of the half-blood vampire hunter created by Mauro Boselli lays the foundations for a new cinematic universe that promises to be particularly promising. And it turns out to be a very successful experiment, a genre film that convinces

“Blood has memory”. One cannot escape from one’s past, one can certainly face it, come to terms with it, even rebel, but it is not possible to erase it. This seems to be the message contained in the sentence Tesla tells Harlan when Dampyr it has already bypassed the first half of its duration. The first film by Bonelli Entertainment, the audiovisual division of Sergio Bonelli Editore, produced with Brandon Box and distributed by Eagle Pictures, is about blood, heritage, destiny, but also about free will.

Birth of an antihero

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Dampyr, the film based on Bonelli’s comic, will be released on October 28th

Dampyr it is a story of discovery and acceptance of one’s own identity, the journey of a rather traditional anti-hero, with a strongly dark hue, set in an almost contemporary, historically realistic context, which only in its initial part gives space to a slight humorous vein. Harlan (Wade Briggs) is a Dampyr, the son of a Master of the Night and a woman, half vampire and half human destined to hunt vampires. But he doesn’t know he is.

Ph. Credit: Gianfilippo De Rossi

THE DISCOVERY OF YOURSELF

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Dampyr, the trailer for the film based on the Bonelli comic

Or rather, he is convinced that the rumors circulating about him are just legends, excellent to exploit to extract some money and some bread from the poor gullible who populate the Balkans torn apart by the bloody war of the former Yugoslavia at the beginning of the years. 90. “I’m a sucker. Vampires do not exist “, he tells Commander Kurjak, but the very encounters he will make and the events in which he will find himself will lead him to discover who he really is, to recognize his nightmares as fragments of memories imprinted in the blood, to decide whether remain a swindler charlatan or become a hero by accepting the enormous responsibilities that come with his great powers.

A MATTER OF CHOICES

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Harlan, however, is not the only one to follow a growth path in a film that, fundamentally, is about choices. You can decide to accept your own identity or build a different one, choose the good and rebel against evil, lead a life following certain values ​​or not. All the protagonists are faced with this type of choice, all are confronted with their past in trying to build their future, fighting a war against evil that becomes a metaphor for the real war, one capable of tearing apart a country, devastating cities. , pitting relatives, friends, neighbors against each other, leaving a very long trail of blood, bodies and rubble in its path.

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Ph. Credit: Gianfilippo De Rossi

CAST AND CHARACTERS

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Wade Briggs is a convincing Dampyr far beyond the physical resemblance to the cartoon character created by Mauro Boselli, capable of passing with ease through a strong change of characterization within the film, transforming himself from charlatan to warrior. Frida Gustavsson is the perfect Tesla, cold in her beauty and passionate in her interpretation. Stuart Martin has the rigor of Kurjak in his face, a soldier who is convinced that a war must be fought with honor and respect, even more so in a context of continuous war crimes. But perhaps the most charismatic character is Gorka, played by David Morrissey, a cold and proud villain, a Master of the Night capable of manipulating and moving the vampires he has created like puppets.

A WELL SPENT BUDGET

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If the screenplay by Mauro Boselli, Giovanni Masi, Alberto Ostini and Mauro Uzzeo has a solid structure (with a development of the characters perhaps slightly accelerated by the need for the duration of the film) supported by a good level of acting by the whole cast, the technical sector stands out for its quality. The 15 million budget declared by Bonelli Entertainment and Brandon Box can all be seen and the impression is that they have been very well spent.

A LEVEL PRODUCTION

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Excellent directorial debut by Riccardo Chemello, supported by a beautiful photograph signed by Vittorio Omodei Zorini who focuses so much on dark and gray tones, the film betrays the presence within it of some of the most important workers of Italian and international cinema, by hair designer Giorgio Gregorini (Oscar winner for Suicide Squad), to Makeup Designer Francesca Galafassi (game of Thrones). The costumes are by Giovanni Casalnuovo (Wanted, Romeo & Juliet, Beowulf). The thrilling and credible fight scenes are entrusted to the fight choreographer Vladimir ‘Furdo’ Furdik (Skyfall, game of Thrones, The Witcher) and stunt supervisor Lubomir Misak (game of Thrones, The Last Legion, Kingdom of Heaven). Special effects are handled by Alps Studios (Bones and All, Curon, The Stand).

A quality genre film

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Dampyr it is a genre film made with skill and passion, by those who know and love the source material and by those who have been able to give it a new vision on a different and complicated medium. A certainly successful experiment and a promising starting point for what will be the cinematographic universe of Bonelli Entertainment, a heritage of characters and stories that can have their own version that is much more than dignified on the screen.

Dampyr, between vampires and war. Review of the first Bonelli film