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Wyvern Mystery

27 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Apr 23, 2013)
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Editorial Reviews

This spine-chilling, Victorian horror classic, starring Naomi Watts (The Impossible), Iain Glen (Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey) and Derek Jacobi (The King's Speech, I, Claudius), pits bone-chilling fear against hot-blooded passion.

Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Bfs Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: April 23, 2013
  • Run Time: 118 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,257 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 19, 2004
Format: DVD
"The Wyvern Mystery" is from the PBS "Mystery!" series, based on J. Sheridan Le Fanu's gothic novel of the same title published 1869. It stars Derek Jacobi, Naomi Watts, Jack Davenport, and Iain Glen.
The story is aptly convoluted (but changed to suit the running time, especially the latter half of the film). Being orphaned, Alice Maybell (Watts) is brought to the mansion of austere Squire, Henry Fairfield (Jacobi), who locks up her in the dreary wing. Grown-up Alice is wooed by the Squire, but finds a new and secret love in one of the Squire's son, Captain Charles Fairfield (Glen). They find a new home in Carwell Grange, bleak house where no one visits except Charles's brother Harry (Davenport), but there is another secret hiding in this place, which sooner or later Alice is to find out behind the wall of her secluded room.
Le Fanu's original story is so complex particularly in the last one-third of the novel, so the film changed the whole story into more conventional form. That works to some extent, even though the spooky touch of this Irish writer, who really led a hermit-like life in his country, is somehow missing from the result. But the good acting from the leads, and the effective costumes and locations help us to be enticed to the gothic world, where the heroine is gradually threatened by weird things and the mental depression as their consequences. And Naomi Watts looks splendid in costume. Her fans should not miss it.
Le Fanu's most famous (and best) novel will be "Uncle Silas" which was also filmed (under the title of "The Dark Angel", not to be confused with Jessica Alva TV) early in the 1990s starring Peter O'Tool.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Rudy Avila on October 22, 2005
Format: DVD
Irish/French writer J. Sheridan Lefanu's novel "Carmilla" about a female vampire is his most famous work but he wrote a number of captivating Gothic novels dealing with ghosts and mystery. The Wyvern Mystery is a long and complicated work of psychological female fear, especially regarding losing children to a "monster" both within the woman herself or from a powerful "other". Naomi Watts - in Victorian garb- stars as the quintessentially Gothic heroine. She is somewhat naive about the world at first but develops into a mature and valiant woman who protects her family. All the elements of Gothic novels are present in this film brought to life by evocative cinematography and visuals. Fog, mist, eerie moonlight, strange noises, secrets, suspense, Gothic mansions and of course blood. Discover the Wyvern Mystery on this DVD edition. It first aired in the UK via the BBC and was featured in PBS's Mystery! hosted by veteran British star Vanessa Redgrave.

True. This formulaic and mainstream horror/mystery film is nothing like the longer and more psychologically chilling LeFanu novel. There have been many alterations which actually weaken the writer's intentions. LeFanu wrote not only supernatural thrillers involving vampires, ghosts and people behaving monstrously but was writing about repressed sexualities and fears of the unknown. In the 19th century, Gothic novels and romances were highly popular, especially among women. However, while romance was the biggest factor in the novels at first, it later became novels of darker themes. If you like this movie and you looked the book, you should read other LeFanu novels as well as such early Gothic novels as "The Castle of Otranto" and "The Monk". Both of these novels would make awesome horror films.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Bechaz on June 11, 2009
Format: DVD
An amazing cast did this movie proud. Naomi Watts acted her heart out, and even if her accent sounds a little more Australian than English, she still did well, being utterly believeable in her role; indeed, the whole cast acted as if vying for an Oscar. Jack Davenport was as enigmatic as usual, of course.

An interesting, fast-paced storyline keeps the interest, and there are thrills and dramas aplenty. I would highly recommend this British movie to anyone who likes mysteries and Gothic thrillers.

I haven't read the book this is based on, so I can't comment on how it compares to the book. Judging by the other reviews, it would appear that it is actually an advantage not to read the book first, because doing so seems to jade people's opinions of the movie. But that so often happens with book-to-movie transitions, doesn't it?
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By K. M. Cavuoti on June 11, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This gothic horror tale has more plot twists, many unexplained, than the maze at Hampton Court. There is much promised, but sadly little delivery of what could have been a well above average story. Some of the tale is implied in fevered flash-backs. At times it is not only hard to tell who is having them, but whether they represent real or imagined events. The answer to both is a definite: maybe.

The costuming and atmospheric setting is worth seeing. The cast is stellar. Naomi Watts, looking like a Nicole Kidman clone; the ever dependable Derek Jacobi; and the always facinating Iain Glen; and newcomer Jack Davenport; all give exceptional performances in spite of a convoluted and confusing script. I read the book in an attempt to tie up the loose ends of the story. The movie and the book are quite similar until the last one third. Though it did explain some of the subtext and started out as a fascinating and eerie tale, it never lived up to its potential. A wonderfully evil and vengeful "bump in the night", is dispatched half way through and the story meanders to its somewhat predictable conclusion over 11 years. They tightened the ending of the movie to four years and gave a small sense of redemption for the squire (Jacobi.) Maybe it lost its umph in the editing room. There are two continuity errors that bothered me. Two blue eyed parents cannot have a brown eyed child (that's genetics) how does the penniless Alice afford to keep her lady's maid?? But I pick nits. See it if you love great acting, beautiful scenery, plot twists and eerie gothic tales. (Anyone who saw Painted Lady with Helen Mirren and Iain Glen will recognize the lovely house that stands in for "Carwell Grange" as the same one.)
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