Director: Dario Argento
Writer: Dario Argento, Enrique Cerezo, Stefano Piani, Antonio Tentori
Based on: Bram Stoker‘s novel
Cast: Thomas Kretschmann, Marta Gastini, Asia Argento, Unax Ugalde, Miriam Giovanelli, Giovanni Franzoni, Rutger Hauer
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Jonathan Harker (Unax Ugalde) just arrived in a small town in the middle of nowhere where his old friend Lucy Kisslinger (Asia Argento) managed to get him a job as a librarian with the local Count Dracula (Thomas Kretschmann). As Jonathan nervously starts his job while waiting for his wife Mina (Marta Gastini) to arrive as well, it becomes quickly clear that not all is right with the Count and the village.
Ever since the film was shown in Cannes a couple of years back, the /slash Filmfestival has been trying to get this film to Vienna. And finally they succeeded, and even managed to bring Dario Argento as well which is pretty damn awesome. Unfortunately I missed about half the program with him and only saw the rest of his audience talk and this film.
And while I understand Argento’s status as a living legend, Dracula really didn’t prove that it’s justified. In fact, the film was rather horrible.
I have seen my fair share of 3D movies but rarely have I seen one where the 3D was as exhausting as in this one. I felt like I had to squint half of the time and it wouldn’t have surprised me if my eyes had been sore the next day. There were some nice images and production design, though.
But the 3D was far from the film’s only problem. Dracula, at his core, is a seductor. Thomas Kretschmann is an attractive man. The combination was the least sexy thing I have ever seen in my life. There was zero sexual tension there and without it, Dracula doesn’t really work (other vampires can work without it, but not the romantic Dracula-version).
I was pretty certain we would be in trouble when Argento said in the talk beforehand that his film is about this poor man who falls victim to the young, beautiful seductress. (In the hands of somebody feminist, this could actually be interesting. Argento is not the man to handle this story though.) And then the entire film, Dracula is a controling agressor who practically robs Mina of her free will – and when she finally gets it back, Dracula is supposed to be the poor guy? I don’t think so.
The problem was that Argento was too busy with boob shots and too obsessed with the seduction by young women to really care for the rest of the story. That means that the film remains rather hollow.