DVD Review: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Remix)

Posted on January 23, 2009 by Deaditor

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (2005)

Studio: Image Entertainment

DVD Release Date: June 5, 2007

Directed By: David Lee Fisher

Cast: Judson Pierce Morgan, Lauren Birkell, Doug Jones, Daamen J. Krall, Neil Hopkins

Brutal As Hell Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Review By: Annie Riordan

 

A young man recalls, in flashback, the strange events which befell the German town of Holstenwall in the autumn of 1919. When a carnival comes to town, a young man is murdered and his best friend believes that the sinister Dr. Caligari, along with his exhibit/slave Cesare The Somnambulist, are responsible. Can he prove their guilt before they strike again? Or will his beautiful fiancé Jane be next?

 

As far as remakes go, this is definitely one of the better ones.. Instead of trying to sex-n’-gore up the classic tale of Caligari, this update remains incredibly faithful with only a few slight changes to the story that do not affect the ultimate outcome. Filmed almost entirely on a green screen, Caligari is literally filmed right on top of the 1919 version, juxtaposing its new characters on the original backgrounds with an impressive seamlessness. The effect is startling fresh and vivid, but also comfortingly familiar.

 

As for the new cast, both Daamen J. Krell (Dr. Caligari) and Doug Jones (Hellboy) seem right at home in the Expressionistic fairy tale setting. The other actors seem a tad stiff and self-conscious, but considering the gist of the storyline, that really doesn’t ruin anything – actually, it rather adds to the off-balance ambience.

 

Boasting an absolutely gorgeous score by Eban Schletter, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari proves that remakes aren’t always a bad thing. This will never be as good or as classic as the original, of course, but it’s a damn good effort, executed with love and respect.