Second in my Dracula-a-thon, the most recent, and the longest adaptation of the novel, Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a Francis Ford Coppola picture, and that right there should give you an idea of the dedication and amount of effort put into this little project. Coppola is rarely known for cutting corners, and all that he crams into this film is utilized to its fullest extent. That being said, this was one of the first films culled from the list to make way for new entries, and having now seen the film, I can understand that decision.
I’ll start off with my favorite part of the movie: Gary Oldman. How the hell did he not get nominated for an Academy Award for so long, until they finally just gave him a nom for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, when he was putting out such fantastic acting work as this the whole time? Gary Oldman is the chameleon of acting, and he never seems to do a poor job, and he doesn’t here. Keanu Reeves, on the other hand, was so wooden it actually grew embarrassing to watch. The production value in this was second to none; extremely gothic, lavish makeup and costume design, the whole of it just screamed extravagance, so much so that it seemed too much of a good thing, and thus circled its way around to potentially being a bad thing. The film is rather on-the-nose, really on-the-nose, with everything it does, from the acting to the filming style to the lighting and use of shadows (one sequence near the beginning with Dracula and Harker stood out in my mind). While this makes the film very stylish, it also makes the film appear very gaudy, with too much flair used to hide the shortcomings of the rest of the film.
After finishing this one, I felt the opposite of how I felt with the previous Dracula; I didn’t like it. I gave it points for what it does do well, from the production value to Oldman’s acting, but there was just too much in-your-face-ness about the whole thing; there was no such thing as subtlety in the world of this film. The mood was very good, thanks to the production value, but I couldn’t find too many things to like about this one, and I searched for a good while. I can understand how this made the list, and again, I can understand how it was removed. If you’re a horror fan, definitely give this a try; it has just about everything a modern horror fan could want in a film.
Arbitrary Rating: 7/10