Why We Watch

This bravura sequence from Nosferatu (1979, Werner Herzog) pulls away from the characters and the immediacy of the narrative to offer a a stunning omniscient view of the matter at hand. It is only during this extended moment that the story’s theme emerges: victimization by a vampire is not a phenomenon which remains merely a personal encounter with the supernatural. It is instead the visitation of chaos upon a defenseless society.
This is horror as epidemiology, once again carried out by an ancient, malevolent force that preys on a naive, younger generation that has forgotten such a battle still exists. That this transpires in broad daylight, while the instigator sleeps, drives home the point.
Herzog has the camera provide hints of cinema verite, yet never loses track of Adjani. It is nonetheless a mystical—at times oneiric—rendering of human catastrophe, made all the more poignant by Georgian folk masters Vocal Ansambl Gordela’s haunting performance of “Tsintskaro.”