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  • Writer's pictureStephen Yanni

🏆 El Conde (2023) - Fangs for Nothing: A Missed Satirical Mark

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2/5 stars)

Released 09-08-2023

Watched 03-02-2024

Reviewed 03-05-2024

Watched on NetFlix



"It's said that when one samples the succulent muscle of a still-palpitating heart, it's hard to go back to being a normal person."


"El Conde," directed by Pablo Larraín, presents a daring and visually arresting narrative that fuses historical satire with horror elements, using the infamous Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet as its vampiric protagonist. While the film's premise is undeniably creative and its cinematography is exceptional, deserving of its Academy Award nomination, the execution of its plot and character development leaves much to be desired, resulting in a disappointing overall experience.


The film's visual storytelling is its strongest suit, with each frame meticulously crafted to enhance the dark, comedic, and horrific elements of the story. The use of lighting and camera angles is masterful, creating an immersive atmosphere that is both captivating and unsettling. However, this visual prowess is not enough to salvage the film from its narrative and thematic shortcomings.


The plot, which follows the 250-year-old vampire Pinochet, now seeking death after centuries of turmoil and bloodshed, is rife with potential but ultimately falls flat due to its convoluted and meandering storyline. The inclusion of historical and fictional elements feels disjointed, and the film struggles to maintain a coherent tone, wavering uncomfortably between dark comedy and horror without fully committing to either.


Character development is another area where "El Conde" falters. The characters, including Pinochet himself, are thinly sketched and lack depth, making it difficult for the audience to connect with or understand their motivations. The film's attempt at satire often comes across as campy and trite, failing to offer meaningful commentary on Pinochet's dictatorship or the broader themes of power, corruption, and human nature.


Moreover, the film's climax and resolution feels unsatisfying, leaving many plot threads unresolved and questions unanswered. The inclusion of fantastical elements, such as the appearance of Margaret Thatcher as a vampire, only adds to the confusion and detracts from the film's potential to make a poignant statement about its real-life historical figures and events.


In conclusion, while "El Conde" shines in its cinematographic achievements, it ultimately fails to deliver a compelling narrative or insightful satire. The film's ambitious concept is undermined by its execution, rendering it a missed opportunity in the realms of storytelling and social commentary. Fans of the genre and admirers of Larraín's previous work may find some elements to appreciate, but for the wider audience, there are more cohesive and impactful films within the black comedy horror genre to explore. There are so many better vampire movies out there. Although some may say this is still a better love story than Twilight.

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