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
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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
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 ...