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Dracula 3D
Argento's Dracula

Italy/France/Spain 2012
produced by
Enrique Cerezo, Roberto Di Girolami, Sergio Gobbi, Franco Paolucci, Giovanni Paolucci for Enrique Cerezo Producciones Cinematográficas, Film Export Group, Les Films de l'Astre
directed by Dario Argento
starring Thomas Kretschmann, Marta Gastini, Asia Argento, Unax Ugalde, Miriam Giovanelli, Rutger Hauer, Maria Critina Heller, Autusto Zucchi, Franco Ravera, Francesco Rossini, Giovanni Franzoni, Giuseppe Lo Console, Riccardo Cicogna, Christian Burruano, Eugenio Allegri, Nicola Baldoni, Alma Noce, Luca Fonte, Marco Mancia, Toni Pandolfol, Simona Romagnoli
screenplay by Dario Argento, Enrique Cerezo, Stefano Piani, Antonio Tentori, music by Claudio Simonetti, special effects by Sergio Salvati

Dracula, Van Helsing

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Somewhere in the Carpathian mountains, circa late 19th century: Jonathan Harker (Unax Ugalde) arrives at Count Dracula's (Thomas Kretschmann) castle to start work as a librarian - and is never seen again. A few days later, Harker's wife Mina (Marta Gastini) arrives in a village near the castle to be reunited with her husband, but is instead picked up from the station by her best friend Lucy (Asia Argento). She is puzzled, but not especially worried ... and when she sees Lucy's condition is worsening, she starts to worry more and more about her than about Harker and postpones her departure to the castle time and again - and when she does she is attacked by wolves but miraculously saved, and finds Dracula to be a perfect host, but no Jonathan, who is said to have gone to town on errands and will be gone for several days.

Mina returns to Lucy's place, to find her dead. Nobody talks about it in town of course, but everybody believes it was vampires - but at a secret meeting of some self-appointed vampire hunters, Dracula shows up and pretty much rips them to shreds. Enter Van Helsing (Rutger Hauer), an eccentric professor who knows how to properly deal with vampires and who has fought Dracula before and lives to tell, and now Van Helsing makes it his prime directive to protect Mina - and protecting she needs, because Dracula sees in her his reincarnation of a long-lost love, and now he wants to make her his vampiric lover for all eternity, and he'll stop at nothing to get what he wants, not even murder ... well, especially not murder. And eventually, he does get his hands on her, does cloud her mind enough to become his follower, but before he can turn her, enter Van Helsing, complete with stake and a gun loaded with a special bullet. To little avail, Dracula is quick to overcome him - but then Dracula is so adamant to let his arch-enemy suffer that he batters him black and blue instead of just killing him ... which loosens his hold over Mina, who picks up the gun and shoots Dracula - who turns to dust almost instantly ...

 

Despite the addition of 3D, Dracula 3D uses a rather old-fashioned approach to the well-known story, an approach that does not by any means find new interpretations to the century-old story or add new elements to it, instead it just retells the well-known story (with slight variations), relying heavily on atmosphere as well as on some fittingly gruesome outbursts of violence, done as you'd expect Dario Argento to do them. In all, the movie's just beautiful to look at - but the story's a bit too well-known, and the characters lack depth, though apart from Unax Ugalde's Jonathan Harker they are well-played, and Thomas Kretschmann rather shines as a very atypical restrained Dracula.

In all a very beautiful movie - most certainly with a few too many flaws to be a milestone adaptation of the novel, fut nice to look at for some old-fashioned scares still.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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A Killer Conversation

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directed by
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written by
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starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

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