Artisan // 2003 // 110 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // April 9th, 2004
So there's this guy named Dracula. And he's got this curse thing going for him. Which is nice.
It's Friends meets Francis Ford Coppola!
Here we have a "retelling" or a "reimagination" or "homage," or whatever the trendy buzzword is these days for "knock-off," of Bram Stoker's classic Dracula story. The filmmakers have advanced the timeline so events take place in the present day, but fear not vampire fiends, there are still plenty of pointy incisors to go around. Jonathan (Hardy Kruger) is an up-and-coming investor who lands into the potential deal of the century. For a whopping 10% commission he's about to facilitate the purchase of a sprawling European estate. Who's the buyer? An enigmatic old man who just happens to be frickin' Dracula, that's who! What Jonathan finds in his trip to the castle is a mysterious, outlying town that holds some pretty severe superstitions about the menace that may be lurking on yonder hill. It won't be long until Jonathan is eye-to-eye with these supernatural happenings. After a wiggy encounter with Vladislav Tepes (Patrick Bergin), AKA the DracMan, Jonathan nestles himself into bed. But he isn't alone. No, some really crappy computer-enhanced she-vampires start to "float" all around him, kissing him here and there, and generally being all seductive. Not until they bare their fangs does Vlad scatter them. He's not such a bad guy, is he? Not so fast. The AB positive really hits the fan when Dracula sinks his teeth into the lovely Lucy, one of Jonathan's friends. Seduced by the wiles of the Drac Attack, Lucy is helpless and succumbs to the delight of being undead. This greatly concerns her friends, who call in Dr. Valenzi, a vampire expert. For our group of chums, it's now a race to cure Lucy, lay the smackdown on Dracula, and maybe hit the Central Perk for some espresso.
A search for Dracula's Curse at IMDb proved to be fairly challenging. After finally tracking down the movie, I learned it was a miniseries; apparently it had been repackaged as a feature-length film by Artisan. So there you go. If you have any pacing issues with the flick, this could be the reason. Personally, I didn't find any. However, to appease fans of the "extended cut," Artisan included some fairly lengthy deleted scenes. So anyway, the movie is okay. The film stock is pretty cheap-o, a step or two above my personal camcorder. And the special effects are really bad. That sequence with the three toothy seductresses suffers the worst; the crummy visual effects completely took me out of the movie. It wasn't "Whoa, cool, marginally good-looking, undead women flying around and seducing that dork!" It was "That sucks." Aside from these complaints, the film's not a parade of misery. Fans of Bram Stoker's tale will certainly take more from the "remake" than those who found the other screen adaptations ample Dracula action for one lifetime. For the most part, what the movie lacks in placing you "on the edge of your seat," as the disc jacket boldly proclaims, it makes up for in a quasi-Scooby Doo-like investigation. Really, though, at the movie's core, it's a group of friends trying to figure something out. Yet everyone involved commits to doing an okay job, and the production values and general atmosphere help shed the burden of the film stock and sad-sack effects. Bergin's Dracula is effectively crusty and malicious, and Muriel Baumeister has a good time hamming it up as the infected Lucy. Artisan, surprisingly, actually delivers a few extras. The aforementioned deleted scenes bulk up the runtime a bit, and add some mildly interesting fodder. Though the trailer and photo gallery are certainly disposable, points for rendering a 5.1 mix. The full frame ratio, sadly, is what it is...crap.
Mainly for fans, Dracula's Curse may also interest those who could use some more Bram in their diet.
We'll let you off with a warning, mainly because your representation, the usually awful Artisan, put forth a better-than-average case.
Review content copyright © 2004 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 110 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Deleted Scenes
* Photo Gallery