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Dracula

UK 2006
produced by
Trevor Hopkins, Michele Buck (executive), Rebecca Eaton (executive), Julie Gardner (executive), Damien Timmer (executive) for BBC (BBC Wales), WGBH Boston, Granada Television
directed by Bill Eagles
starring Marc Warren, David Suchet, Dan Stevens, Sophia Myles, Benedick Blythe, James Greene, Tom Burke, Donald Sumpter, Stephanie Leonidas, Rafe Spall, Ian Redford, Tanveer Ghani, Rupert Holliday-Evans, David Glover, Ian Gain, Richard Syms
screenplay by Stewart Harcourt, based on the novel by Bram Stoker, music by Dminik Scherrer

Dracula, Van Helsing

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Arthur Holmwood (Dan Stevens) is to marry Lucy Westenra (Sophia Myles), which sounds absolutely wonderful, because the two of them have been in love forever - but actually it isn't because unbeknowest to his bride-to-be, Holmwood is suffering from syphillis, and as long as this is not fixed, their marriage cannot be consummated. Nw this is a problem, because it's 1899, and there is no cure for syphillis. But Holmwood has learned about a certain Count Dracula (Marc Warren) in Transylvania who might be willing to help him, so Holmwood moves heaven and earth (and hooks up with all the wrong people in the process) to get Dracula to England. But Dracula is not one to be ordered around, so he kills the whole crew on his ship to England, then redirects the ship, and refuses to cure Holmwood.

Holmwood gets more and more desperate because quite frankly he would love to finally shag his wife who gets more horny by the day, but there's just nothing doing. Then one night, Dracula stops by the seduce Lucy, and since he is also a vampire, he also drinks her blood, effectively killing her or rather turning her into one of his kind. However, the main reason Dracula has come to England was Lucy's best friend Mina (Stephanie Leonidas), whom he soon starts dating to drag her over to his side ...

In the meantime, Holmwood has hooked up with his rival for Lucy's affections, John Seward (Tom Burke), and a certain vampire hunter by the name of Van Helsing (David Suchet) to put an end to Dracula's reign of terror, ultimately with Mina's help. They succeed, too ...

 

Bram Stoker's Dracula has something that speaks right to the audience, which explains its longevity - at least it must have something because as a book, it's not all that good. This made-for-TV film here has taken it upon itself to improve the basic plot of Stoker's novel rather than just film it word for word, so lots of thought has been put into things like character motivation, into the actual historical and sociological background of the book, and into a modern interpretation of the century-old text.

In fact, you can almost feel how much thought was put into the film - and that doesn't serve the movie as such one bit, because while it's narratively coherent and probably also one of the most intelligent adaptations of the book ever, it's an emotional void. My point is, the audience cannot feel any of the characters in this one. Sure, one knows their motivations, but is oblivious to what they feel. A rather bland cast doesn't help either of course - and why does Dracula have to look like a rock star from the 1990's? But there's more that drags the film down: It totally lacks dramatic buildup, there is no single scene in the entire movie, and the whole thing is entirely atmosphere-free.

Basically, a utterly forgettable Dracula-adaptation ...

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
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A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD