Dracula: The Dark Prince (2013, Pearry Teo)

Dracula-the-Dark-Prince1

An occasional series where I write about works inspired by Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula…

These reviews reveal plot twists.

Setting: There’s a short prologue set in 1453, then the main action takes place a century later. Despite being set in Romania, everyone on screen seems Anglo-Saxon.

Faithful to the novel? No. It’s a period film with yet another telling of the myth based on Vlad the Impaler. It’s also another film where Dracula’s long-dead love is resurrected as another character – in this case a woman called Alina (Kelly Wenham), who dresses in kinky leather as she searches for a mythical weapon. Dracula (Luke Roberts) is said to be the descendent of the Biblical Able. He renounces God after his girlfriend is killed by invading Turks, so a touchy God responds by condemning him with immortality. The non-Bram Stoker storyline sees Alina team up with others, including a vampire hunter called Leonardo Van Helsing (Jon Voight), to fight evil. In nods to the novel, Dracula has several Brides at his CGI castle, as well as an advisor called Renfield (Stephen Hogan).

Best performance: No one’s great. Jon Voight – an Oscar-winning actor, of course – is especially poor with a cod accent and a Monty Python prosthetic nose. But Ben Robson isn’t too bad as a charismatic thief called Lucian.

Best bit: The prologue contains a battle sequence stylishly – and presumably cost-effectively – presented as animation.

Review: It’s never very clear what any of the characters actually want in this straight-to-DVD movie. There’s a MacGuffin that seems to be important; Dracula is keen on knowing Alina. But nothing drives the story – certainly not any of the characters. It’s corny, cliched trash for the most part. The near-constant incidental music drones on, treating every scene as if it has equal importance. And that’s also true of the flat, drab and uninteresting storytelling.

Four frozen seas out of 10

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