Movie Review: Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Details from IMDB:

Dracula (1992)

R  128 min  –  Horror | Romance   –  13 November 1992 (Canada)

Ratings: 7.3/10 from 71,016 users   Metascore: 57/100
Reviews: 568 user | 139 critic | 17 from Metacritic.com

The vampire comes to England to seduce a visitor’s fiancée and inflict havoc in the foreign land.

Initial thoughts:

Once more this isn’t my first time seeing this movie so I’m not all that objective (but it’s a vampire movie so you knew that anyway Winking smile). I don’t see how any self-respecting vampire fan hasn’t read Bram Stoker’s Dracula and while this movie is far from accurate, is still certainly worth seeing, if for no other reason than to see how well you know the book.

Main points:

Whenever I see this movie I think of the course I took in Gothic Fiction by the esteemed Dr. Elizabeth Miller. She made the book come alive for me and we did examine the movie in class. So the beginning is total nonsense in regards to the book, while Bram Stoker may have been aware of Vlad the Impaler he never meant that Vlad literally is Count Dracula. While it’s an OK scene in the movie I always though the idea the the Count makes himself a vampire to be rather ridiculous.

Before I get into more criticism I will say that overall the acting in this movie is well done (except Keanu Reeves who mostly just gets by), Anthony Hopkins in particular makes a great Van Helsing and Gary Oldman is an excellent Dracula. This movie did win awards for costumes, make-up and effects and it shows. (The effects look a little dated but that is true for most films 10+ years old).

The first half of the movie is a little slow and I found myself laughing at parts that maybe weren’t supposed to be funny. I think this is due to the fact that the story was written in 1897 and bringing it to the screen always seems a little silly, it’s one of the reasons I’m really looking forward to a play of Dracula near me this month.

The second half is where things get moving and I enjoyed it much more. My biggest complaint with the movie is that it shouldn’t have Bram Stoker’s name attached to it, it’s really not close to the book and makes it much more of a love story than the novel.

SPOILER ALERT!

Once Jonathon Harker returns to England and Lucy is a vampire the movie picks up the pace. Once you have to drive a stake through a woman’s heart and cut off her head, there’s no point in denying that vampires exist Smile

I enjoyed very much how the movie shows that Dracula can walk around in the daylight and that he has power over the natural world like wind, vermin and wolves. He can also do much more impressive things like turn to mist, bats, wolves, a younger version of himself, telepathy and hypnotism. The movie says that love both redeems and destroys him while the book just gives it Van Helsing and his gang.

Some stuff like Dracula appearing as some kind of wolfman and batcreature seemed a bit much for me. He also seems to miss several chances to kill his foes when they least expect it but this was true for the book as well.

Conclusion:

Gary Oldman is such as great Count that I enjoyed this movie very much. Some lines and scenes (like Harker with the Count’s bride) are done exceptionally well and are very sexy. While it’s completely off base it is a fun idea to have Vlad as Dracula and I couldn’t help enjoy it. Ultimately I give this movie 8/10. I would love to see a movie 100% accurate to the book with super-special effects but for any Dracula/vampire fan, this is still one of the best out there.

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2 Comments

  1. I agree with you that Gary Oldman played the part well. I enjoyed that movie too. I wonder why the scriptwriters dont completely stay with the book. hmmm 🙂 Nice review – makes me want to watch this movie again! And read the book (no I’ve never read Dracula). 😛

  2. Hi there! My first comment, thanks!

    I think no movie is ever 100% faithful to the book, it’s very hard for example to do someone’s “thoughts” well in any movie. You really should read Bram Stoker’s Dracula, it is public domain so you can download it for free lots of places. It starts off slow but picks up, also the language is a little old-fashioned but still a horror classic 🙂

    Charles


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