The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (2005)

cabinet of dr caligari poster 2005 movie
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 7/10

Interesting take on the original

Not as good as the original version

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

Studio:  Image Entertainment

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  October 22, 2005

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated


Awaken Cesare!

Francis Geist (Judson Pearce Morgan) has survived a nightmare.  A man calling himself Dr. Caligari (Daamen J. Krall) came to his town with a carnival presenting Cesare the Somnambulist (Doug Jones)…a man trapped in eternal sleep.  When murders began occurring in Holstenwall and Francis’ friend Alan (Neil Hopkins) was murdered, Francis decided to get to the bottom of the killings.  Capturing the killer might be easy, but the truth about the killings is not as black-and-white as it may seem.

Directed by David Lee Fisher, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a remake of the silent black-and-white horror classic from 1920.  The adaptation of the story was released to film festivals and relatively well received.


Just a stroll in a digital world…

Silent films can be tough, but they are necessary to understand where film has come from and everything from cartoons, to novels, to comics borrow from the early movies in visuals and jokes.  The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is one of the greatest films of the silent era and if you can’t take silent movies, at least try to see this one.

The adaptation of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari isn’t perfect but it is fairly accurate to the original movie.  The story is forced to add more dialogue and backstory to the tale and despite some minor alterations does present the basic concepts.  I still like the twist of the movie, though as a talking movie, it is even more obvious by the strange vocal presentations.


Flowers are the only color left in life…

A problem of the silent film is that silent actors must overcompensate and overact to get their means across.  With a speaking Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, the cast must tone it down because it doesn’t translate well in all the scenes.  Judson Pearce Morgan as the lead isn’t very compelling but he also is the character with very little meat.  Caligari is a fun character to really overplay and Daamen J. Krall who is usually known for voice work is fun.  Costumed actor Doug Jones steps into the role of Cesare and is great for the role as a good duplicate for Conrad Veidt.


I was on the way to a football game when I fell asleep

The visuals for the movie try to duplicate Robert Wiene visionary look and succeed for the most part.  The film is primarily monotone in color and even uses direct visuals from the original film.  The movie was shot all on green screen and the background are all created behind the actors.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is an interesting film and mostly interesting as a comparison film to the original.  While this film is no classic, it is a good attempt to try to repurpose a great film.  Unlike a standard remake, the movie blends old and new and worth investigating if similar attempts are made with other classic silent films.  See the original, but consider giving this Cabinet of Dr. Caligari a chance.

Related Links:

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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