Film Review: DRACULA (a.k.a. Dracula 3-D) (2012)

DRACULA Aka Dracula 3-D *** Italy / France / Spain 2012 106 mins

Negative fan reaction to MOTHER OF TEARS and GIALLO (both of which are more enjoyable than many have suggested) has ensured cautious expectations for all future Dario Argento productions, and his 3-D interpretation of DRACULA is of a similar, enjoy-it-or-loathe-it ilk. It’s sometimes goofy and laughable, largely lacking the style with which the director made his name and has the fear factor of a Mel Brooks parody – but it’s also lively and lovably nuts at times. Argento’s take on the Count has a pleasingly atmospheric opening, though you’ll be too distracted by the majesty of gorgeous busty village girl
Miriam Giovanelli getting nekkid for frisky barn sex before being noshed on by a 3-D owl (!!) that turns into Dracula. (Argento has fully incorporated the usually-ditched Stoker notion of Dracula being able to transform into animals at will). More fetching cleavage, Hammer-style pubs and awkward, tittersome dialogue all follow, along with a characteristically topless (and miscast) Asia Argento as Lucy and an excess of crappy CGI. Still, Thomas Kretschmann brings charisma and impressively feral attack moments to the title role, and the movie delivers the kind of gore you don’t normally get in a Dracula picture, including an echo of the 3-D eyeball poking in FRIDAY THE 13TH PART III. Rutger Hauer is disappointingly under-used as Van Helsing but, at its best, this DRACULA is engagingly off-the-wall: check out the Count turning into a giant preying mantis and perhaps the worst line of dialogue in any straight Dracula movie: “Thank God I had enough garlic for one bullet!”

Review by Steven West


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