Okay, so a Dracula film from Canada! Maybe it should be called Terror of Dracul-Eh. I’ll stop now.
Whilst this isn’t going to topple Coppola’s version or the many veins that Dracula appeared in the Hammer franchises, I found myself forgiving the films flaws and loving it a little. It has a lot of heart but little gore, which is refreshing with today’s splatter against the wall blood-fests. This is an amateur effort, and it shows. The acting is a little stalled in places and the accents are sometimes transparent, but the casting is good and they make good use of what sets they have. But a little more action and little less conversation might have got a little more love from me. It was hard to watch this without drawing comparisons to other versions, They’re there, I have to compare and contrast. I think Dracula is an interesting character whatever form he’s in. He’s old, ancient even, but he’s new to science, and this is something that the legend plays on, that one day mankind will find something that could easily take on and take over the world. Whilst it is a supernatural notion, Vampirism is merely a word used to describe what ever disease or obsession that could end up felling mankind. Remember, Dracula may be an intellectual beast, but all beasts get hungry. . .
Matt Davies puts in a decent enough performance as the turmoil-filled Jonathan Harker, but I suppose anyone further turn could surpass Keanu Reeves effort in which he was out acted by a wooden stake.
Director Anthony D.P. Mann casts himself in the role of Count Dracula, sticking close to Stokers original idea. Cinematically he absorbs the skulking look of Max Shreck, and the poise of Christopher Lee, but unfortunately he fails to grab Gary Oldman’s turn as a monster in love.
Terry Wade puts in a good stint as Van Helsing, amicably bridging Helsing’s studious though brave nature.
The costumes were excellent, as were the sets, though they could have made more use of the exterior sets, at time the actors felt closed in. Give me a few long shots, I need landscape!
One frightening thing was the sound, which may or not have been intentional. During the conversation, I found myself straining to hear the actors, which is a good trick as it makes the audience lean in and pay attention; but then when the action kicks in to shock the viewer the sound blares and shakes the goddamned room. I thought, ffs, I’m gonna wake the kids up in a minute the way the sound bounces up and down. Get some equaliser!
Whilst this is an amateur effort, at times it feels like a filming of a play, cinematography wise there’s pornography with more daring angles. Maybe that’s what the film could have done with. A little more sexing up to increase the appeal, the female cast have the looks, seems a shame to waste them on pride. . . But for $15,000 they’ve done a not too bad job at adapting Stokers 1897 novel with a few changes. The effects won’t blow you away, nor will you remember this as the best Dracula movie ever made, it has heart, and for what they had to work with, I’d give them an A+* for effort. If you’re more of a fan of the book than the films of Dracula, I urge you to check it out. It has a charm, though like hot blood spurting from a virgin’s jugular, it is an acquired taste.