Good, Bad & Ugly Review: Dracula

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: NA (Critics) / 78% (Audience)
Directed By: Dario Argento
Written By: Dario Argento, Enrique Cerezo and Stefano Piani
Starring: Asia Argento, Rutger Hauer, Thomas Kretschmann and Marta Gastini
Studio: Les Films de l’Astre

Synopsis:A young librarian, Jonathan Harker, is welcomed at Castle Dracula by the Count and a young woman named Tania, who seems intent on seducing Harker. The Count prevents Tania from biting the young man, but Dracula attacks Harker himself, leaving him weak. Harker attempts to escape the castle, but is killed by a wolf. Harker’s wife, Mina, arrives in the village and stays at the home of her friend, Lucy Kisslinger. Worried about her husband, she visits the castle, and falls under the spell of the Count. It transpires that Dracula has engineered their meeting, because Mina is the reincarnation of his long-lost love, Dolinger. Lucy also becomes undead before the mysterious happenings in the village attract the attention of vampire expert Van Helsing, who prepares for final combat with his deadliest foe. (Source)

The Good:
I tip my hat to Dario Argento for attempting to do an homage to the old Hammer Studios Dracula flicks. Of course Argento being Argento he sexed it up a bit more, made things a lot more gory and increased the boob quotient by 100% but as a diehard fan of those Hammer films I appreciated the gesture.
I also got copious chuckles out of the awesomely hammy faces that the actors in this movie made when in vamp situations.

The Bad:
Where to start? OK, every performance in this film was wooden and devoid of any passion whatsoever. The dude playing Dracula may have been the worst offender. Dracula is supposed to have charm and a dark appeal yet Thomas Kretschmann was like a piece of driftwood with legs. There was nothing about his performance as Dracula that made you feel anything but boredom and apathy. And then pairing such a dull actor with such a vapid actress in Marta Gastini as Mina was just a deadly combination of blah. These two are supposed to be a great love that transcends yet the two of them generated about as much heat as a walk-in freezer.
And I love Rutger Hauer like Kim Kardashian loves attention but dude doesn’t even try anymore and the obvious lazy acting he displayed as Van Helsing was just shameful.

The Ugly:
The fact that Argento is so willy nilly about shooting his own daughter in flagrante dilecto is a bit skeevy.
And what the fuck was up with Dracula turning into a giant praying mantis? Since when can he do something like that?

Final Verdict: As much as I like the idea of a modern attempt at the old Hammer Studios Dracula films, Argento showed hardly any originality or passion for the subject matter instead creating a shallow and lifeless movie that generated more unintentional laughter than I am sure he would have liked. I hate to say this but I really think it’s time Argento retired because he is not doing his legacy any favors by churning out such subpar movies.

Rating: D

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