Sunday, May 01, 2016

Dracula 2012 – review

Director: Vinayan

Release date: 2013

Contains spoilers

Not to be confused with Dario Argento’s Dracula this Indian film is called 2012 (the year Argento’s was released) but was released in 2013. Both films have also had releases with “3D” in their titles. There was also Saint Dracula in 2012, a 3D film with an Indian director at the helm – but as flawed as this film might be it is infinitely better than that turkey.

So, what we have essentially is a reinvention of the Dracula story – with a definite Vlad Ţepeş connection and a locational change to India. However we do begin in Romania.

a rite in Bran Castle
Or more precisely at Bran Castle. This, of course, ignores the fact that the connection between Vlad III and Bran Castle is tenuous, to say the least, with little evidence that he stayed there. Indeed it is fair to suggest that the castle became associated with the Dracula story more for the look of the castle than any association with either the Novel (none) or the historic Vlad (little). However it is here we find Roy (Sudheer Sukumaran) honeymooning with his new wife Lucy. He is somewhat excited to be in Dracula’s castle.

manbat and Roy
They head back to the hotel and then he phones his swami and asks whether the techniques he has learnt in India to summon evil spirits will work in a foreign land – he is told yes. Sending Lucy off shopping he heads back to the castle and does a ritual which summons the spirit of Dracula. Dracula states that he has no physical form and must possess a newly dead body and then takes on manbat form and physically attacks Roy. As Lucy searches for her missing husband he is taken to a forest, killed and possessed – Dracula learning his knowledge and language in the process.

the... ahem... armour
He then finds Lucy in the bath (wearing a towel for modesty sake… whilst in the bath it appers), kills and turns her, and as far as their families in India are concerned they have been kidnapped by bandits and are missing presumed dead. There is a homeless looking man in India, who eats bugs, who calls Dracula Master (so Renfield then) and a young man called Raju helps a Doctor William D’Souza move into a house by shifting his boxes (of earth). D’Souza is Dracula and he sees a photo of Raju’s love Meena (Monal Gajjar) and has a flashback to her as his princess. Now this is a rip of Dracula (1992) (with different actors playing the previous incarnations) but the famous red armour of the earlier film has now morphed into some form of padded leisure suit.

Meena, incidentally, is the swami’s daughter and her sister, Thara, is also targeted by Dracula. Throw in a psychic investigator and some Romanian monks and that’s about it… Except for the dancing and singing – it’s an Indian film so there has to be dancing and singing… It is also interminably long. 45 minutes could have nicely been shaved off the running time that would have tightened the film up considerably and probably wouldn’t have injured the story (it might have improved it to be honest).

Sudheer Sukumaran as Dracula/Roy
The effects are generally poor – the manbat form of Dracula, for instance, looks absolutely fake and thus disturbs suspension of belief. The acting is poor – however Sudheer Sukumaran really seems to be enjoying playing the villain, though the performance is thick with melodrama. All that said there is a charm with this that, perhaps, a film like Saint Dracula lacked. Almost an innocence within the filmmaking that, perhaps, makes it more watchable than it would have been. But the length is the biggest issue and I can’t overlook that. 3.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.


Alex. G said...

At least there's no giant CGI bugs in this one. Still can't figure out why on earth Argento put that in his film.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

I actually thought the practical sfx he put with that cgi made it even worse... but like you, its inclusion baffled me :) good to hear from you :D

Alex. G said...

Glad to talk to ya. I read your blog reguarly, but rarely find anything interesting to say sadly.