Dario Argento’s Dracula 3D (2012)

3.66 Overall Score
Acting: 4/10
Writing: 3/10
Effects: 4/10

Some interesting sequences.

Most of this film.

Dario Argento’s Dracula 3-D

Dir: Dario Argento

Thomas Krestchmann, Asia Argento, Unax Ugalde, Marta Gastini, Rutger Hauer

Do not think me a cinematic neophyte for what I am about to confess, but this is my first experience with Dario Argento, and sadly I was extremely disappointed by what I saw.  The story of Dracula is one that any casual film viewer is familiar with. There have been countless version made in the past, so why retread through this all too familiar territory?  As I watched this film I found myself asking the same question.

In the beginning of this over sexualized, gore filled version of the story we find a girl, Tanja (Miriam Giovanelli), and her mother getting ready to turn in for the night.  The mother warns Tanja to lock the house up tight because it is Walpurgis Night, which of course means she’s going to go out and get herself killed or bitten by an undead fiend… shocker.  Then we are presented with Jonathan Harker (Ugalde), a librarian, setting out to the Count’s castle in order to catalogue his book collection.  If this sounds silly, it’s because it is.  Dracula (Krestchmann) is of course a creep with personal space issues, just like in every other version, who is out for human blood.  Even Rutger Hauer as the vampire hunter Van Helsing seems flat and at times lost in this feature.

This film never feels quite right.  The picture quality is far too clear and crisp for this kind of film and looks more like a direct to video feature.  This is the type of story that needs that old grainy film stock with pops and crackles.  I would have at least hidden the quality of the production, which was extremely low budget, filled with CGI that belongs in the mid-nineties and sets that don’t feel real as well as green screen shots that are all too noticable.

This seems like a film that was unintentionally cheesy.  The performances were all very straight and serious, making me think that no one was in on the joke. Kerestchmann as Dracula is decent enough, but never achieves the forebodingly dark presence that the character should.  Everyone else seems to be going through the motions here not really adding or detracting from the film.  There are some interesting sequences in here though.   Harker’s transformation for example uses some excellent camera work, adding a visual stress to connect the audience with what the character experiences, but these moments are undermined by the lackluster and uninterested manner of the rest of the film.

While there are definitely some changes from the countless other versions of the story, this isn’t enough to make the film worth watching.  I for one will go and explore the director’s other works in the hopes that they might cleanse my mind of this feature.  If you’re a fan of Argento’s there may be something here for you, but for the casual viewer this retread is worth skipping.

 

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Dan Folgar
Author: Dan Folgar View all posts by
Dan Folgar received a degree in Cinema Studies from the University of Central Florida in 2008, and is currently working on an MFA in Fine Arts. He is an avid film watcher and an enthusiast who is prone to ranting. Follow on twitter @grim842.

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