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February 7, 2014

MOVIE REVIEW: Argento's Dracula (2013, DVD)

Review By: Rob Sibley

Argento... Argento... how the mighty have fallen. I'm kidding, I know Drac 3D has become a running joke ever since the "praying mantis" scene from the first teaser trailer leaked, people joke about this film. Is it a cheese fest? Yes, you bet your ass it but it's also a lot fun. Sure this is pure "cinema head cheese" pardon the plug but you're already reading this, so good for you.

Now we'll get to what the film does right and what it does wrong, this will be a shorter review because it's an easy film to spoil, it really is. Before you watch this film, think of the worst Hammer Horror vampire film, then add buckets of "Mother of tears" style gore and plenty of T&A. Yes Asia Argento is naked a lot in this film. Within the first 10 minutes you see torture, nudity, sex, and major carnage.

Argento was inspired by Hammer Horror, it's obvious. But the big problem with the film is the bad CGI and the directing... this is due in part to the fact it was shot in 3D. The depth of field is way to good for this film. It's also way too clear, it's shows off the set designs that would look great. But now with Blu-ray, Red Camera's and all that... the sets look cheap as hell. Also everything is so clean that you lose the charm. If this was shot on film, I think it would be an entirely different film.

Okay, so you know the plot right? Dracula is kicking around, missing his lost love until he meets Mina (the stunning Marta Gastini), he reminds her of his old love. He turns her best friend Mina (Asia Argento looking amazing as always) into a vamp... So then Dracula slashes his way through many people to make the love work... kinda. The gremlin in the machine though is Van Helsing (Played with glee by Rutger Haur). Who's really perfect casting, he knows the type of film he's doing. I think more-so then Argento did, he hams up the performance on purpose.

Thomas Kretschmann is amazing though as Dracula, he's a brilliant actor. He's proven it time and time again. He was the only thing I liked about that "The River" show. He's loving playing Drac this time around and this is the second time he's working with Argento. Think of Kret's take on Dracula as Christopher Lee in the more mean spirited Hammer Dracula films. He's a vicious motherfucker. He turns into a wolf at one point (Glad they kept that from the book), he turns into a silly looking owl at one point (worse then Hong Kong CGI) and even the infamous praying mantis which was just stupid.

Now before you read this you already own this or are going to buy it because your obsessed with Argento like me. Or maybe you want some cheesy good fun. That's what the film is. Before I received this review copy of the DVD I already owned the American IFC Blu-ray and the Italian Blu-ray. Yeah I'm pretty obsessed with all of Argento's work (Four Flies on Grey Velvet still is my favorite.)

IFC releases Dracula 3D in 2D for DVD (The Blu-ray is a dual release). The picture quailty on either release is crystal clear, huge depth of field, the colors are rather rich. The cinematography is striking at times. Spotless flawless transfer. The original 2.35:1 aspect ratio is kept luckily.

The 5.1 audio is fantastic, as much as the film is a piece of cheese the technical aspects are flawless. It is an Argento film so that's to be expected.

Extra's are surprisingly heavy. The Behind the scenes footage runs an hour and some change. You get candid interviews with everyone involved in the production, plenty of great fly on the wall moments. Basically this making of documentary is better then the film. You also get the hilarious red-band trailer, and an ultra cheesy music video titled "Kiss Me Dracula"... oh boy.

Overall, you'll either love this or hate it. If you hated Argento's last few films, don't expect this to be a return to form. It's fun though, so Argento buffs buy it, horror fans rent it. Overall though, I had a blast with this piece of Argento sleazy horror homage cheese. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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