- Elf 2017
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
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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 ...
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.