Friday, May 29, 2015

Dracula Reborn – review

Director: Attila Luca

Release date: 2014

Contains spoilers

Not to be confused with the 2012 film, this was originally called Drakula XO but was subject to a name change for the UK DVD release. At the time of writing the review there is no IMDb page.

You’ll see that the cover was designed to cash in on Dracula Untold by using a design reminiscent of the bigger budgeted film’s poster, which should have started alarm bells ringing.

grabbing a jogger
We begin with a jogger (Shauna Baker) taking a morning run. She is grabbed by a cloaked and hooded figure who drags her to one side and bites her. We get to see nothing of his face bar his chin. A note about the blood effects used through the film. The physical blood effects used were rather good. However there is a reliance on cgi blood for spray and splatter that is incredibly poor, often not leading to a splatter on nearby surfaces – they’d have been better having no effect at all.

Syrup of Figs
We see a guy, Cristian (Eric Kara), and woman, Hannah (Tina Balthazar). He’s bought wine and asks “your place or mine”. The answer is hers and the fact that there is zero chemistry and she appears utterly disinterested helps distract from the fact that he is wearing an incredibly bad wig. He tells her he is an investor in mines (with a comment about people that seemed odd to us and ignored by her). He comes from Paris he says – they kiss, the chemistry stayed at zero and his wig stayed on.

The next day, or another perhaps, there are news reports about killings in Paris tied in with Drakula and the Drakula cult, a girl called Veronique (Aniko Petho) has also gone missing. {The spelling of Dracula is per the spelling shown in film as opposed to the rename for release.} We also see that Hannah is a disgraced journalist who is obsessed with vampires. She phones her friend Emmy (Chloé Dumas) to say that she is on her way to Paris. Now we get the main problem with the film – narrative.

Chloé Dumas as Emmy
Hannah, Emmy and fellow journalist Nate (Michael Maricondi) are investigating the Drakula cult with the help of Hannah’s ex-boyfriend Xavier (Yannis Baraban) and Cristian (using his French and Romanian contacts). We know that vampires are a reality in this world but the accusations on the news towards the Drakula family does not sit with the idea, also presented in dialogue, that the press are too scared to accuse them. Further to this the idea of a publically known cult doesn’t sit at all comfortably within the premise of the film.

Yves Carlevaris as Corvinus
The film spends a lot of time following a man, Corvinus (Yves Carlevaris), who in turn is following our intrepid journalists. He is a bald vampire and is portrayed with melodrama affectations that seem bordering on Vaudeville. When he vanishes, reappears in a cloak and walks holding it out to the side, like a refuge from a lost comedy sketch show, one wonders at the film all the more. His laughter seems comic, but there are no laughs. He seems to answer to the hooded man from the beginning of the film… hold on, perhaps all head vampires are bald… who do we see with a bad wig again? Yeah, the twist was spotted from a mile away.

Sad to say the plot wasn’t. In fact even now I’m struggling to piece together what the plot was. The vampires kill the journalists’ leads for talking to them – but they could have just killed the journalists and have done. They get further leads that are plucked from encrypted files and hidden websites but the film fails to draw us into the investigation. Elizabeth Báthory (Ferencz Rozalia) comes up but, for the life of me, I couldn’t tell you why. There isn’t any lore I can really give you: vampires like cloaks, can walk in daylight and have a human and fanged/clawed form.

walking the cape
The acting from Tina Balthazar seems so distant that it might come from a few miles outside the boundaries of the film – but that might be a fault of the material, which just doesn’t manage to tell a story. To be fair, it isn’t as bad as some films but that just means it fails that aspiration too! Altogether 2.5 out of 10 seems about fair. I think there was probably a good idea before they started but the idea became lost, or maybe totally left behind.

At the time of review there is no IMDb page.

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