‘Therapy for a Vampire’: Fantasia Review

Sigmund Freud is of little help to a life-weary vampire.

Angst is more a plot device than a way of (undead) life in David Ruhm‘s Therapy for a Vampire, in which a bored bloodsucker in 1930s Vienna seeks help from Dr. Sigmund Freud. Help doesn’t come from the couch but from a possible new love in a comedy that’s more cutely diverting than laugh-out-loud funny. The pic’s relative novelty in a field of self-serious or gore-heavy vamp flicks should help it with genre buffs on VOD.

Tobias Moretti plays Count Geza von Kozsnom, who swings some after-hours sessions with Freud (Karl Fischer) after donating to his analysts’ society. He laments that “I no longer have a thirst for life” and “I’m not good at self-reflection” suggest the level of laffs on offer here. The Count hates his wife (Jeanette Hain) and is pining for Nadila, the lover who gave him immortality centuries ago before being destroyed by enemies. He’s also got an OCD streak, and can’t help but count loose candies or beads if a jar is overturned. (This is an actual bit of vampire folklore, evidently, and not a nod to Sesame Street’s Count.)

The Bottom Line

An amusing alternative to all those mopey bloodsuckers.

Lucky for Freud, the Count finds his own cure: A local kitchen worker named Lucy (Cornelia Ivancan) is the spitting image of Nadila; believing she’s her reincarnation, Kozsnom sets out to seduce her. Bad news for her mortal lover Viktor (Dominic Oley), a painter who gives Lucy reason to cheat on him at just the wrong moment. But the love triangle turns four-sided once the Countess, a vain woman who hasn’t been able to see her reflection in ages, takes an interest in the man who can paint her portrait.

The soundstagey look and TV-like lighting here are well suited to the movie’s wink-wink tone. Ruhm’s lively pace keeps the plot’s essential silliness from growing tiresome, even if it never kicks into the high-octane farce the picture seems to seek.

Production companies: Novotny & Novotny Filmproduktion, Hugofilm
Cast: Tobias Moretti, Jeanette Hain, Cornelia Ivancan, Dominic Oley, Karl Fischer
Director-Screenwriter: David Ruhm
Producers: Christian Davi, Alexander Glehr, Christof Neracher, Franz Novotny, Thomas Thumena
Executive producer: Johanna Scherz
Director of photography: Martin Gschlacht
Production designer: Andreas Sobotka
Costume designer: Monika Buttinger
Editor: Claudio Cea
Music: Bernd Jungmair, Stefan Jungmair         
Casting director: Rita Waszilovics

No rating, 87 minutes