directs and stars in this biography of Erzebet Bathory, the 17th century countess whose love of a younger man drove her to madness and beyond. At the dawn of the 17th century, Countess Bathory was the most powerful woman in Hungary. At the age of 14, she married a powerful warlord twice her age and bore him four children. While her husband was away fighting wars, Countess Bathory maintained their estate with the help of her one true confidant, a powerful witch named Anna Darvulia. Over time, Countess Bathory's gained great influence, even holding sway over decisions made by the King. But she was unwilling to accept a world in which men were able to break the rules without consequence while women were expected to be unquestionably subservient, and after her husband died, Countess Bathory fell deeply in love with a young nobleman named Istvan (Daniel Brühl
), whom she encountered at a lavish feast. Istvan too was smitten, though his relationship with the countess was cut short when his father, Count Thurzo (William Hurt
), forced him to break off the romance. Meanwhile, as Countess Bathory becomes obsessed with the prospect that age was a factor in the failure of the relationship, Count Thurzo begins crafting an elaborate plot against her. Eventually Countess Bathory's blinding sadness gives way to irreversible madness, and she becomes convinced that she can maintain her youth and beauty forever by bathing in the blood of virgins. Her dementia and obsession flowing like the virginal blood she bathes in every night, Countess Bathory eventually realizes that she has become the victim of a vast political conspiracy hatched by the father of her beloved. But by now it's already too late, Countess Erzebet Bathory's downfall had already been set into motion.