Anyone who knows their vampire history will have heard of and know about Elizabeth Bathory (yes, I know that I have written her first name in English), after all she is supposedly the most prolific female serial killer of all time. This film is not however a horror movie. Bathory may have done some killing and may have tortured people, but since at least the 19th century until modern times there has always been a big question mark over what really went on.
Anna Friel brings home a great performance as Bathory and really brings this film to life. In a time of superstition and constant fighting with the Turks, Hungary has also to keep an eye open for Hapsburg intrigues. Spanning the late 16th and early 17th centuries, Bathory's husband is often away on wars, so Elizabeth has to manage the estates and bring up their children. When a mishap occurs her husband has to call in a woman that most consider a witch to save her, and thus the two women form a bond. As the 'witch' claims she can keep Bathory looking young, Elizabeth starts taking baths, but are these in blood, or something less innocuous?
Taking a few liberties with the facts this presents a thought provoking film, but I am not sure whether the surreal dreamlike imagery is really needed, or a couple of Catholic monks sent into the area to spy. These monks are like early James Bonds with gadgets that must have been made by an early Q.
If you like something a bit different that makes you question the folk tales that get handed down over the years, then you will probably enjoy this, but as I put above, there are a few things that this film would have been better without. Also included on this dvd are extras, a documentary feature, deleted scenes and a music video.