'Shadow of the Vampire' is a fictional insight into how the famous silent film 'Nosferatu' was made, it's a big tell-all and revelation of all the obstacles and conflicts that F.W. Murnau went through during the production of SOTV all because of his star actor Max Schreck . The other problem for him was trying to keep it a secret from the crew and actors about Max's biological makeup, meaning that Max was a real vampire that had to pretend he was a human playing a vampire, off course having a vampire on set was a disaster waiting to happen. The other revelation was that FW made a deal with Max that if he agrees to act in the film he can have the leading lady at the end of the shooting.
Interestingly enough there is some truth in this film, the real actress in Nosferatu didn't like film, she liked theatre, we hear this is SOTV and there's a brief mention of the court case between Stoker's wife and FW.
This would have to be one of my favourite metafilms, it's so tongue and cheek, the humour is dark and weird and Malkovich's performance as FW Murnau is just memorable. He plays the passionate, emotional, controlling, hot tempered, ego driven artist so well, you can't helping laughing at the s*** he says and Dafoe's performance as Max Schreck playing Count Orlock is also funny especially when he starts wanting to hijack the film, "this is hardly your picture any longer" and also losing his patience in wanting the leading lady in the end during the bedroom scene. There are a lot of good scenes in SOTV.
The movie is medium paced, there is a quiet, dark vibe in the film and there are parts where there's not much going on, its just the characters doing their work and Max letting his curiosity get to him. Its always refreshing when you watch a movie that doesn't depend on external conflicts to make it entertaining or to chase the big bucks.
The most memorable scenes are FW shouting at Max for destroying his photographer and Max's suggestions in response which only infuriate FW even more, "I don't think we need the ship" says Shreck and the other when FW tries to straggle Shreck.
If you like black humour, vampires, nosferatu and the starring actors check it out but beware its no bram stoker's Dracula or some other commercial vampire flick. This is a fresh way of telling a vampire story. A combo between a mythological figure and the film industry, what an eclectic fusion.