Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) Review: Cheesy Retelling
“Love Never Dies”
Synopsis: The centuries old vampire Count Dracula comes to England to seduce his barrister Jonathan Harker’s fiancée Mina Murray and inflict havoc in the foreign land.
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For the life of me, I can’t tell why this movie is so popular. Maybe if I had seen it when I was younger I’d have some nostalgia for it, which could have softened it a little in my mind’s eye. Maybe everyone else who’s ever watched it has been on hallucinogens. (I can’t rule that out.) Whatever the reason, this is another one of those movies where I feel like I need someone to explain their enjoyment to me.
Even if I take the movie as a joke – even with all the big names – even with good source material and lots of classic references to make… everything about Bram Stoker’s Dracula falls flat. The effects and sets are laughably bad. The actors – even those who can actually act – are generally unconvincing at best. Most of the attempts at nods and references to other movies are ham-handed and distracting. Despite Francis Ford Coppola‘s penchant for naming movies adapted from books after their original authors, I can’t help but feel like it’s insulting to Bram Stoker to have his name attached to this project.
Frequent readers will know that I’m generally a fan of cheesy movies, but not this one. Even with some actors I rather like (Cary Elwes, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins), it did nothing for me. Honestly, it’s hard to put my finger on why Bram Stoker’s Dracula comes across as just plain bad, instead of so-bad-it’s-good. I think it mostly comes down to the movie never quite leaning into the ridiculousness of it all. Even with the kabuki outfits and the bizarre added love story, I cringed far more than I laughed.
Some of my actual in-the-moment notes from the last time we watched the movie:
-Pretty ballsy calling this Bram Stoker’s Dracula
-Francis Ford Coppola, what is wrong with you?
-How is this movie still happening?
Seriously, guys. How was this movie so bad? How do so many people seem to like it? I’m bewildered. Even with the big names (Gary Oldman, Keanu Reeves), this isn’t worth your time. If you’re being coerced into it by one of the thousands of people who inexplicably love the movie, we made you a drinking game to help get you through it. You’re welcome.
Calamity Brains’ Rating: C
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