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‘The Vourdalak’ review: Dir. Adrien Beau (2024)

Whilst the world is enraptured with Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula, it was not the first work of literature to explore vampiric creatures. Instead it was Aleksei K. Tolstoy’s ‘La Famille du Vourdalak’, that first brought forth the concept with its story about the vampire-like Vourdalak, a creature from the depths of Slavic folklore. With there being countless iterations of Dracula on-screen, now comes an early adaptation of Tolstoy’s novel in the form of Adrien Beau’s The Vourdalak.

What differentiates the Vourdalak creature from the classical vampire is that they prefer to target a single family, slowly working its way through the bloodline until nothing remains. In The Vourdalak, a lost Marquis Jacques Antoine Saturnin d’Urfé (Kacey Mottet Klein) seeks refuge inside the house of a man called Gorcha. Here he meets the man’s children, and whilst all of them seem helpful enough, they are clearly afraid of something, something which stalks the nocturnal hours. 

The Vourdalak unfurls slowly, Beau gradually building up tension and atmosphere. Even when the more traditional elements begin to appear, Beau keeps them restrained and deliberate. Whilst this pacing will be fine for most, there will be some who find its glacial momentum exasperating. The steady unfolding is necessary to sow the seeds of paranoia and mistrust, but could be a smidge faster at getting to the juicier content. 

Where The Vourdalak excels is in its creature design. The Vourdalak itself is a beautifully realised creation born out of puppetry mastery. Its artificial origins help to unsettle the viewer and The Vourdalak is an incredible feat of creativity that helps set this film apart from so many other independent genre films. The design is startling and one that demonstrates that CGI and VFX haven’t completely taken over cinema just yet.  

A haunting and atmospheric film, The Vourdalak is wonderfully gothic and does a fantastic job at spotlighting a new slant on vampiric creatures. The pacing won’t be to everybody’s taste, but those with a thirst for slow-burn horror will find plenty to gorge themselves on. 

The Vourdalak

Kat Hughes

The Vourdalak


Adrien Beau meticulously crafts a dread infused atmospheric tale that will delight those who prefer their horror films of the slow and steady variety. 


The Vourdalak is in cinemas across the US from Friday 28th June 2024.

Kat Hughes is a UK born film critic and interviewer who has a passion for horror films. An editor for THN, Kat is also a Rotten Tomatoes Approved Critic. She has bylines with Ghouls Magazine, Arrow Video, Film Stories, Certified Forgotten and FILMHOUNDS and has had essays published in home entertainment releases by Vinegar Syndrome and Second Sight. When not writing about horror, Kat hosts micro podcast Movies with Mummy along with her five-year-old daughter.


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