Thursday, 12 February 2015

Dario's Dracula Sucks ...

Dracula 3D
(2012 / Italy / France / Spain)

Director Dario Argento
With Thomas Kretschmann, Marta Gastini, Asia Argento,
Unax Ugalde, Miriam Giovanelli & Rutger Hauer

‘‘She was an angel. I am the monster !’’

Genre great Dario Argento returns to the Directors chair, this time seeking to infuse new blood
into the legend of, Dracula. A lot at stake then, with a later day career far fallen from the Giallo 
graces that placed him upon high.

Argento takes Dracula to a whole new dimension of terror. Not only in 3D, but also into the truly terrifying realm of over abundant, and poorly done CGI. Even Bela Lugosi would have had good cause to hide his face behind his cape at the dour effects that are applied here !. 

The stories premise is traditional Bram Stoker fare. Jonathan Harker is called into the employ of Count Dracula, to undertake the task to categorize his vast library. Within the confines of the counts castle’s domain, Harker falls victim to the entrapment of vampirism. His demise is swiftly inevitable, as is the arrival soon after of his wife Mina, to be by her husbands side. The true revealing purpose of Harker’s calling, by Dracula, to bring his beautiful wife to the region, for the blood sucking vampire to have her for his own. Mina’s countenance being the same as that of the one true love Dracula had, had centuries before. The smitten vampire convinced of Mina being the resurrected embodiment of his lover !. 

Dario Argento of old would have sunk his teeth into re-imaging the legend of Dracula. Relishing the prospect of enveloping his audience into an eye popping new way to literally splatter his eager patrons with gore and shocks aplenty, with the medium of 3D. Rather unfortunately though, this is the modern day shadow of the former maestro, as painful as that is actually to state !. Here the only pair of glasses that most watching will want to put on are those that come as a pair, with matching cane ! Dracula 3D is far from candy for the eyes, but more floss for a toothless lead, directed with neutered care for either performers or viewers !.

Incredibly poor in its updated translation, Dracula 3D actually relies heavily upon ripping scenes, and dialogue, from Universal’s Dracula 1932, Hammer’s Dracula 1958, and Francis Ford Coppola’s sterling remake from 1992. Even Unax Ugalde’s performance as Jonathan Harker looks more ‘Bill than Ted’ than Keanu Reeves’ ever did, and that too is far from ‘Excellent’ !. 

Thomas Kretschmann’s portrayal of Count Dracula here is as sterile as Doctor Kildare’s stethoscope. Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee, and Gary Oldman all brought their own identity to the role of the literary blood sucker. Kretschmann gives a whole new meaning to lifeless performance. Ironic considering the role that he is playing, indeed !.

The film is not completely without its watchable moments, but they are few and far between. A few take notice gore scenes amongst the kills, and a quite entertaining scene in a tavern, where Dracula at last gets to display his bloody power to all who dare oppose him. Asia Argento displays her wares, and the star of the show, Rutger Hauer, appears in the final third act, as Abraham Van Helsing, to inject some life into the flagging proceedings. 

Dracula 3D isn’t even one of the so bad its good movies, unfortunately. If this was made by low budget film production studio, The Asylum, even their producers would ask for a rewrite and re-shoots !. Apply a humorous over dub and it is perfect late night fodder for Mystery Science Theatre 3000. Curiously though the film often has the look and feel of that of a porn film maker. So much so that with some inserted porn scene this could well work better as one of the many recent productions in the adult film market, as a Dracula XXX parody !. Whatever the case, this most definitely is not the second coming of Dario Argento !.  

Movie Rating: 4/10

Review by Paul Cooke / Source UK Pal Region 2 DVD

Dracula 3D (2012)
Director Dario Argento

With  Thomas Kretschmann, Marta Gastini, 
Asia Argento, Unax Ugalde & Rutger Hauer