I’m not really sure what to say about this. It’s a Dracula movie directed by Dario Argento and is about as good as you can expect it to be. Once again, Johnathan Harker (Unax Ugalde, Savage Grace), his wife Mina (Marta Gastini, The Rite), and her friend Lucy (Asia Argento, The Stendhal Syndrome, XXX) are under attack from the Prince of Darkness (Thomas Kreschmann, Karate Dog, Captain America: The Winter Soldier). And of course vampire expert Van Helsing (Rutger Hauer, The Hitcher, Hobo With a Shotgun) does what he can to prevent more people from becoming Drac snacks.
As far as a Dracula story, this is pretty standard fare. The fun of this comes from seeing what Argento does with it. Argento used to be a creative powerhouse, but his strength of films didn’t come not from the scripts, but the inventiveness of his camera work and own unique vision. These trademarks are something that age has stolen from him, and his films have been increasingly hard to watch. However, there is always a sense of outlandishness to his work that has never quite stopped. I watched the film as a curiosity piece, and in that VEIN I was not disappointed with it. It’s Eruotrash cheese that is gorgeous to look at, and seems like a production firmly grounded in a 70’s style aesthetic up until Dracula turns into a giant cricket. If you don’t turn the film off by that point, you are treated with watching Dracula die from being shot with a garlic bullet(!!!!).
I can’t lie, overall I liked this film, but I’ll probably never watch it again. Poor Thomas Kreschmann looks so embarrassed throughout the film and is totally phoning in his performance as the least charismatic Dracula of all time. He mumbles his dialogue and seems like he’s sleep walking through the film. To put it in perspective, Richard Roxborough did a much better job as the character in Van Helsing. Everyone else does the best they can with the material, and seem to be having fun with it. Also, the traditional European setting is great to look at, and Argento does a great job of filming it. To his credit, despite that this film was originally shot to be in 3D, Argento doesn’t shot any shots that would cheaply capitalize on the medium (i.e. no shots of stakes being driven into the camera). Someone should have had a talk with him though and told him the giant mantis wasn’t really a good idea. Argento also wins Father of the Year award again because he shows us his daughters breasts, a hallmark of all their collaborations since she first appeared in his film Trauma when she was sixteen.