A dreary reinterpretation of the Theseus myth in realistic, Iron Age terms, multi-country co-prod “Minotaur” somehow lost the plot amid its labyrinth of 19 producers. Laudable attempt to get away from the bright, clean look of sword-and-sandal mini-epics of yore goes to the other extreme, with almost the whole DV-shot movie tinted, color-corrected or shot in lugubrious interiors and set in an Ancient Greece where the sun never shines. Horror addicts will doubtless search this one out on ancillary, where its biggest market resides.
Eight youths from Thena, a village in the southern Peloponnese, are regularly carted off to Crete for sacrifice to a bloodthirsty monster. The so-called Minotaur is the fruit of a union between a bull and the queen (Shiva Gholamianzadeh) of pleasure-loving Minos.
When another batch of youths is required, Theo (Tom Hardy, colorless), son of village leader Cyman (Rutger Hauer), questions the whole process. He’s exempt from the fresh-meat quota, but he still grieves over his g.f., Ffion (Donata Janietz), who was in the last group.
When Theo hears Ffion is still alive, he disobeys dad’s orders and joins the new shipment. However, a diversion awaits him in the form of the sexy Raphaella (Aussie actress Michelle Van Der Water), a Minoan princess who wants protection from her brother, the king.
Perfunctory dialogue fails to make much of the palace drama on arrival in Crete, and film only belatedly gets going once Theo & Co. descend into the Labyrinth. Though the Minotaur itself is disappointing after all the build-up, f/x are passable. However, the general murkiness makes it difficult to follow the action, even if one really cared about the cardboard characters.
Transfer to 35mm is OK, though DV origins are always obvious. Exteriors were shot in Wales, interiors in Luxembourg studios.