- Director:Juraj Jakubisko
- Cast:Anna Friel, Vincent Regan, Karen Roden
- Release Date:July 11, 2012
- The Film:3.5
“…despite its narrative pitfalls, Bathory captures an unsettling sense of madness and horror.”
Mother, lover, countess and killer, this gruesome gothic horror offers a multifaceted portrait of history's most prolific female serial killer, Elizabeth Bathory. Convicted for the torture and murder of 80 innocent women (though some attribute her to 650 deaths), this film follows the Hungarian countess throughout her formative years as a young bride, to her lavish existence during the Turkish invasion of the late 16th century. Suggesting that her taste for the macabre was driven by a relationship with a portrait painter and a mysterious peasant woman, we see Bathory's behaviour escalate from morbid fascination with the dead to bathing in the blood of young virgins, landing her the epithet "The Blood Countess".
British actress Anna Friel (Puishing Daisies) sinks her teeth into this demanding role with impressive ferocity, but the film is spoiled by a disjointed screenplay that fails to define the political and historical context of Bathory's murders. Attempts at comic relief through a pair of bumbling priests are cringe-worthy, and the imposing voiceover unbalances the dark, brooding tone. Nevertheless, the settings deep within the catacombs of austere Hungarian castles is atmospheric, providing an abundance of striking visuals, and despite its narrative pitfalls, Bathory captures an unsettling sense of madness and horror.