01st Oct2014

‘Argento’s Dracula’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Thomas Kretschmann, Marta Gastini, Asia Argento, Unax Ugalde, Miriam Giovanelli, Rutger Hauer, Maria Cristina Heller, Augusto Zucchi, Franco Ravera, Giovanni Franzoni | Written by Dario Argento, Enrique Cerezo, Stefano Piani, Antonio Tentori | Directed by Dario Argento

Argento-Dracula-DVD

As a reviewer I tend not to follow the opinion’s of others – no matter how many people share the same opinion or how many times I’m told said opinion is true. I know that, for the most part, my taste in movies is more aligned to the audience that reads my reviews than my fellow bloggers and critics… Which is why I was willing to part with my hard-earned money to discover the truth about Dario Argento’s take on Dracula for myself.

I kind of wish I’d listened to everyone else.

When Tania (Asia Argento), a young woman, is attacked and killed by a mysterious dark shadow in the woods on her way home from meeting her lover, she emerges days later having been turned into a vampire. As she tries to seduce and bite anyone who gets in her way, vampire hunter Van Helsing (Hauer) traces her every move, plotting a way to kill her once and for all.

Wow. Just wow. Inept is not the word. For one, when did Manimal and Dracula start sharing shape-shifting powers? I had to literally rewind the film (is rewind the right term in this day and age of DVD and digital?) to make sure I hadn’t seen what I thought I saw. Yes, instead of the all-too-familiar vampire bat, the first appearance of the titular character in Argento’s film is as an owl. Yes, an owl. Let that sink in a moment… And an owl is not the only beast Dracula transforms into (though I’ll leave the others as a surprise).

Shall we continue? Because I wish I hadn’t.

Bad CGI, inept direction, poor performances, over-use of┬áTheramin music, and lack of anything resembling talent makes Argento’s Dracula hard viewing. I can honestly say I’ve had more fun watching Bruno Mattei’s films than I did this. And beyond copious nude scenes – which border on the comical in number – there’s little to recommend this film. Not even die-hard Dracula fans or Argento apologists could find anything to defend in this movie.

It’s a sad day when I can say that the once-master of the giallo has become little more than a parody of himself. Argento’s Dracula (to give the film it’s UK DVD title) is more Jess Franco than Dario Argento. I didn’t think Argento could make a film worse than 2009′s Giallo. I was wrong.

Perfectly timed to cash in on the release of the big-screen Dracula Untold (and with a cover designed to fool some unwitting customers), Argento’s Dracula is out now on DVD from Spirit Entertainment.

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