Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Film Review: Argento's Dracula 3D (2012)

Argento's Dracula 3D (Review)
Italy/France/Spain/2012
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Streaming (2D)
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...has an attractive underlying charm that kept me hooked."

A young woman, Tania (Miriam Giovanelli), is attacked in the woods on her way home. Soon thereafter, Jonathan Harker (Unax Ugalde) is hired by Count Dracula (Thomas Kretschmann) to count books...

Argento's Dracula, although apparently not a faithful adaptation of neither, has a lot of story information to digest if you haven't read the novel (which I haven't) or if you haven't seen a faithful film adaptation (No, Dracula 3000 doesn't count.) Anyway, the story mainly centers around Count Dracula, and Jonathan Harker and his wife, Mina. Is it a tale of horror? A tale of romance? It's a bit of both, I suppose, although it is a bit distorted. The story ultimately leads to an interesting ending, albeit underwhelming and predictable.

Let's be honest for a second: if you've seen the trailer, you know not to expect a high-budget, masterfully-made horror film, right? And, you'd be right to adjust your expectations before watching this. The story and storytelling are messy -- it's also predictable, occasionally cheesy, and often unintentionally humorous. Not a confusing film, but odd. In fact, much of the film is odd in this sense, and it actually benefits the film. You see, Argento's Dracula has an attractive underlying charm that kept me hooked. I know it's not a great story -- it's riddled with clich├ęs, bad acting, and terrible special effects -- but the film is strangely entertaining and engrossing from beginning to end. It's like a B-movie, but, at the same time, it's really not.

The acting, for the most part, ranges from bad to mediocre. Miriam Giovanelli is nude and bored through most of her performance, you can probably see how she got the role. Asia Argento is mostly mediocre but serviceable, didn't really seem into her performance. The only real standout was Thomas Kretschmann, who delivers an admirable performance as the charming yet sinister Count Dracula. The special effects are mostly terrible, mostly due to the unnecessary 3D. There were some practical gore effects that I enjoyed. The music is fantastic, I loved this soundtrack and it was one of the only redeeming factors of the film. The set designs are also great, very attractive and immersive, especially when paired with the lighting.

I don't think Dario Argento is to blame for the mishaps and low quality of Argento's Dracula. Yes, I know, it's called Argento'S Dracula (<<That's supposed to emphasize the possessive portion, if you didn't get it), but I feel like Argento's direction is still great. He can still breath life into a film through engaging camerawork, set design, lighting, editing, and music. The writing, the special effects, and the cast, which all except Kretschmann seem miscasted, are more to blame for the film's shortcomings.

Overall, Argento's Dracula 3D is a decent horror/romance film. I know it has plenty of flaws, including the story, the special effects, and acting. Those who grew up with high-quality blockbusters will likely never give this film a fair chance, either. But, I would be lying if I said I wasn't entertained.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, some gore, sex and nudity.

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