I'm not a big fan of horror movies, aside from some of the classic Universal films and the first Scream (and the third one wasn't bad). However, Shadow of the Vampire was a refreshing twist on the genre, thanks to a clever premise and a great Willem Dafoe performance.
Acclaimed filmmaker F.W. Murnau (John Malkovich) is out to create the most realistic vampire film in history, and is completely obsessed with achieving authenticity. However, he's being unusually secretive about certain details of the production, much to the annoyance of producer Albin Grau (Udo Kier). To play the role of Orlok, Murnau has recruited Max Schreck (Willem Dafoe), a Method actor who completely immerses himself in whatever role he plays. Murnau informs the cast and crew that Schreck will be in full makeup and costume throughout filming, and is to be referred to only by his character's name. Although Schreck is difficult to work with, everyone is impressed with how masterfully he's able to portray a vampire and constantly stay in character - even when he goes so far as to attack his cast members.