Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Dracula Reborn – review

Director: Patrick McManus

Release date: 2012

Contains spoilers

Well this modern retelling of Dracula certainly came out of leftfield for me. It just kind of appeared on Amazon and it is a modern retelling – though the vampire is not called Dracula and the story is loose.

As well as being present day, the action is moved to the US and that makes the choice of English primaries, in a couple of the roles, interesting to say the least.

Stuart Rigby as Vladimir Sarkany
It all starts off with a woman (Christianna Carmine) entering a parking lot and speaking about a property on her cell phone, one that isn’t for sale. She is aware of a presence, it seems, and we see a translucent figure. Her key fob seems to be failing to unlock her car and suddenly a man, Vladimir Sarkany (Stuart Rigby), is there. He addresses her as Miss Hawkins and says that the refusal to sell a Malibu property to him has not been communicated properly to him. His eyes are black and she seems dazed.

vamp face on
As we get the opening credits, with a piece of music that seemed to, at the very least, owe a phrase or two to the theme of Dracula (1992) I want to ponder a couple of things here. We see his face in the glass of the car – eschewing a primary piece of Stoker lore. Hawkins does not reappear in the story and so I assume that the Malibu property is the one we see as Sarkany’s home later. Finally Sarkany, who is Dracula though he is never called so, has an English accent… why? Because the English make good villains? Certainly his name suggested Eastern European but we never get back story.

showing him around
Jonathon Harker (Corey Landis) drives to a building in the rough side of town. He goes in and uses his phone for light despite the fact that the lighting (for filming purposes) is more than adequate. The electrics, he discovers, are off despite said light. His client, Sarkany, appears along with his right hand man Renfield (Ian Pfister). Renfield has a torch, Harker is a realtor and the property is for sale. As they leave Harker confesses that the property is not in a good neighbourhood and Sarkany may wish to consider other properties. On queue three hommies appear and threaten the men but the vampire’s black eyes cause them to retreat in fear. Sarkany states he will buy the property – later he will come back and kill the hommies.

post rumpy-pumpy
Harker goes home. He is a newlywed and he and his wife, Lina (Victoria Summer), enjoy some off screen rumpy pumpy. Why she had an English accent is not explored and the accent, as well as her wooden acting, stood out like a sore thumb. She wants children, he is unsure, and this leads to disquiet. When Harker takes papers to Sarkany he spots a portrait that looks just like her (in the most unflattering ways). This, of course, is a device that was introduced into the Dracula lore-book in the 1973 Dracula. Harker shows Sarkany pictures of his wife and will later bring her around.

unflattering portrait
Leaving his client’s home, he finds himself accosted by a man – Quincy Morris (Krash Miller) – who has hidden in his car and tells him that his girlfriend, Lucy, was killed by Sarkany and asks to be taken to the police. After Harker takes Lina over to Sarkany’s place she becomes predated upon and, through Morris, he is introduced to a very young Van Helsing (Keith Reay). Seward is in the film in the form of family doctor Joan (Dani Lennon). And that is about all…

young Van Helsing
You see it is kind of more based on Dracula than a make of Dracula and it suffers for some poor effects (the body in a trunk was a doozy), some wooden acting and lack of back story. We don’t know where Sarkany has come from, or why he is there. Clearly Hawkins is a realtor, so is Harker and so was Lucy… why so many? What was the deal with Renfield and why did he vanish entirely in the finale? What was the truth of the Lina-like portrait, I have assumed it was reincarnation but though it is hinted at it isn’t confirmed?

eating the family dog
Lore adds more questions. Crosses do not work as this vampire is non-denominational (as the script expressly says) and yet, on at least two occasions, satanic symbolism is used and Sarkany calls himself the devil. As Satanism is, by default, a form of Christianity he is not non-denominational. Vampirism, it seems, causes a foreign element to be seen in blood but it is neither a virus or bacteria. Sunlight hurts (at least), a stake through the heart kills and silver will slow a vampire down. Lina’s eat the family dog moment nearly worked well if eating kitten scenes hadn’t beaten it in the seventies - plus even the script suggests she looks more like a zombie.

I wasn’t convinced and yet the film might have been an average movie but for the wooden acting (more than anything) and the lack of exposition. As it is, it falls below average. 3.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.


Unknown said...

I tried to enjoy this movie but I was mostly bored. The person who seemed to put the most effor itno his job was the animator for the opening credits.

There was some interesting imagery, though and I liked "Dracula"'s hypnosis scenes.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Hi Giovanni - I'm afraid I can't even recall the opening credits now... I may have to relook just for those :)

Unknown said...

They wheern't really that special but they gave a sense of effort compared to many of the newer DTV Dracula films