Halloween Review – “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”

And now, top of the classic horror movie monsters, in his own most faithful adaptation yet, I give you….”Bram Stoker’s Dracula”.

Production Info

Gary Oldman …. Dracula
Winona Ryder …. Mina Murray/Elisabeta
Anthony Hopkins …. Prof. Abraham Van Helsing
Keanu Reeves …. Jonathan Harker
Richard E. Grant …. Dr. Jack Seward
Cary Elwes …. Lord Arthur Holmwood
Bill Campbell …. Quincey P. Morris
Sadie Frost …. Lucy Westenra
Tom Waits …. R.M. Renfield

Complete info can be found at imdb.com
The DVD release can be found at Amazon.com


Dracula, lord of all Vampires, comes to London to seek his fortune and finds a bride, and runs afoul of those sworn to destroy him.
A wealthy foreign landowner with a dark and terrible secret comes to London and discovers that his true love has been reincarnated as his realtor’s wife.
A man with an eating disorder stalks and initiates an affair with his realtor’s wife. In retaliation, the realtor hires an insane hitman to take out the threat to his marital bliss.

High Point

For some reason I’ve always found the scene with the wolf surprising and strangely resonant every time I watch the movie. Definitely one of my high points. Plus, Gary Oldman kicks ass.

Low Point

The ending. I just feels wrong.

I’ve seen numerous arguments that this movie is the worst adaptation of Dracula ever put to film – and I can’t argue that based on the points they brought up. I’ll be the first to admit that I can’t bring myself to finish this book either. I know, I’m a slacker. It’s dry, okay? Give me a little slack. I can’t finish the Silmarillion either, people, it’s not like I didn’t try! Ahem. Sorry. From what I do know of the book, I gather that much of the plotline wherein Dracula and Mina are “getting to know each other” is more or less spurious. It works, though. The movie, as a whole, works. This may, however, be one of those cases where it would be better off called something other than “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”. Only those of you who know the book can tell.
Oddly, I’ve always felt that the major reason Bram Stoker’s depiction of the vampiric remains our cultural touchstone moment is because of his own name being so…appropriate to the material. I mean, doesn’t “Bram Stoker” sound like it would be an excellent name for a vampire?

The Scores

The originality is one of the most major arguments about this movie. Usually to the effect that it’s too original. I’m going to give it 4 out of 6, both to indicate that it’s well done in what’s original, that it’s not that original because of its heavy use of a preexisting novel (which isn’t a bad thing) and that many people feel that the kind of originality imparted wasn’t the kind they wanted to see.

The effects were judiciously used and well crafted into the movie itself, inobtrusive enough to keep you inside the movie. While necessary in a movie like this, they found myriad ways to ensure that the effects didn’t take over the movie. 5 out of 6.

The story, in fact, is again a classic. The few changes that were made will have to be evaluated on their own merits – and as I should be trying to be impartial anyway, that’s not a bad thing. I honestly found the story very compelling. 5 out of 6.

The acting was uneven (isn’t that always the way?). Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins were the highlights of the film, dragging you along with them through madness and beyond, while Keanu proves once more (for one of the first times, actually) that he shouldn’t be allowed out of the house unless the roll has been specially cleared for robotic workers. 4 out of 6…primarily for Gary Oldman.

My emotional response was minimal…I was fascinated, but not really emotionally invested. I rather imagined I knew where the movie was going. When it didn’t go there, I was confused rather than amazed, shocked, surprised, what have you. 3 out of 6.

The production tended towards the very good. Most of the point of production is to encourage a specific sensation of style and make sure that the movie’s pacing is good and just take the different clips and pieces of film and work with them in such a way that you get an honest to God MOVIE out of it. For this particular movie, that job was accomplished with very positive results. 5 out of 6.

Overall, I really enjoy this movie…I can’t give it any less than 6 out of 6 for this.

In total, “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” recieves a score of 32 out of 42.

An aside – I apologize for getting this up so late. The review was stored on a computer behind a VPN protected firewall, and my physical authentication token was in my car, which was in the shop. Getting to it was an exercise in frustration.

One reply

  1. A landmark experience
    I’ve only seen the movie once but I’ll always remember above all movies for a single overpowering reason. Keanu Reeves gave what stands out for me as by far the absolute WORST performance I’ve even seen!! Maybe it’s because I read the book first but at no time did I have the slightest impression that Reeves was either an accountant or even knew how to add for that matter, he seemed like some guy who had stumbled onto the set and was told to read some lines going by on a tele-prompter.

    Heck Madonna would probably of played a more convincing Jonathan Harker that he did!

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