Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) Netflix

Tagline: “Love Never Dies”. A remarkably saccharine sentiment for a film about a centuries old corpse who hunts humans and drinks their blood.

Premise: Age old metaphor for male penetration gets the Ford Coppola make-over.

Delivery: “I am no lunatic man, I am a sane man fighting for his soul.”

I had fond memories of Bram Stoker's Dracula, and was quite pleased to see it on Netflix recently. I remembered it as a very dark take on the source material with a strong horror element, plenty of pizazz, which is a word we don't use enough these days, and a show stopping performance from South East London's finest- Gary Oldman. Francis Ford Coppola films always make me think of my mate Thea, and of spending days in front of the TV, drinking wine and cooking. It's not relevant to this review other than that I was reminded of it. Hi Thea!

Bram Stoker's Dracula is is notable for starring Gary Oldman, only 35 at the time but convincingly playing a monster who has been around for centuries. The clue is in his name, I suppose, Old-Man. Well, that and the make-up department's work. My recollection of his brilliant performance was accurate- but. But, there are other actors on show here. Although Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder aren't actors I have any ill will towards normally, their attempts at plumb, silver spoon English instantly annoyed me, and jarred the whole way through the film.

Both American leads are terrible in Dracula, though there is a small redeeming factor in the strong supporting cast; Anthony Hopkins as Van Helsing, Richard E. Grant and Cary Elwes also appear. Also in that their marriage scene was so authentic- they may actually be legally married. As for the look of Bram Stoker's Dracula, some of the stylised shots, particularly the sped up attack scenes from whatever creature form Dracula is in, look very dated now. As do the creatures themselves. 

However there are plenty of very nice practical effects- Dracula's shadow, which apes his movement in a sinister, detached fashion is still very effective, and the film is still quite scary. On that note: apparently the studio thought Oldman played the four hundred year old monster who lives off human blood and feeds babies to his brides, “too scary”. I mean, What on earth did they want from that role? That's like complaining that Adam Sandler is puerile and unfunny. 

Bedsit it? It's easy enough to get hold of, is still an entertaining film and one of the better takes on Dracula, but overall the film has dated quite a lot, and wasn't as good as my memory had held it to be. A declining 6/10, I think I miss wine and cooking with my mate more.


Popular Posts