Director: Roger Young
Writer: Roger Young and Eric Lerner
Starring: Patrick Bergin, Giancarlo Giannini and Hardy Krüger Jr.
This film begins in Argentina; there is a large white horse that is attacked by a bat. The horse is in pain and we cut away to a ballroom where everyone is dancing. Among them is a couple who are now engaged, he is played by Hardy Krüger Jr. and his fiancé is played by Stefania Rocca. With them is their friends, played by Muriel Baumeister and two of her ex-boyfriends, played by Alessio Boni and Conrad Hornby. We learn that that Baumeister is promiscuous and has slept with both Hornby and Boni.
We cut to a hospital where there is a patient going crazy; he is played by Brett Forest. His doctor is played by Kai Wiesinger. He is cut as he tries to calm Forest down. Forest states that he needs to be released to help his master.
Wiesinger introduces himself to Rocca and Baumeister, while telling the latter that she needs to put her cigarette out inside of the ballroom. She states she will if he will dance with her. This makes Hornby jealous. Also at this party, Krüger meets with Patrick Bergin. We learn that Bergin is the nephew of a rich count who wants to move to the city of Budapest. He wants Krüger to broker the deal. Krüger states that he does not do this type of work, but is intrigued when he learns that he will make a tax-free commission that is going to net him a lot of money. He brings this to the attention of Boni and Hornby. Hornby works for the government and advises against it. Boni on the other hand pushes him to do the deal.
We get a scene of Krüger showing off his new sports car. During this we also see that Baumeister is going to sleep with Wiesinger. Later this night, we learn that Baumeister has problems with sleepwalking, something that Hornby uses to take a shot at Wiesinger.
The next day Bergin joins this group for dinner. At the dinner it is dropped that Krüger will broker the deal and is going to Romania to finalize it. Rocca is upset with Krüger for not telling her and for going.
On his way there we get a weird scene where as he tries to pass the border and has a scary run-in with the military guarding it. Krüger is driving fast and he eventually crashes into the woods. He asks some locals for help, but he is attacked by them and their shovels. He flees back to his car were he finds a horse drawn carriage waiting for him. This takes him to the place he has been trying to get to. The man driving the cart is Bergin.
Bergin has white hair and looks older in this house, so Krüger doesn’t recognize that he has already spoken with him. While he is there, Bergin tells him the history of his family, more about the locals and they broker the deal. Bergin shows him what valuables will be taken with him to Budapest, which includes expensive paintings, bars of gold and other stolen items that are made of gold. Krüger attempts to flee though the next morning to find the doors locked. He is then visited that night by three women. They float around and move in ways they shouldn’t be able to. They kiss on him and when one goes to bite his neck, she is stopped by Bergin. He is floating and he tells them that this one is his. This is where we learn that Bergin is a vampire and is Count Dracula.
Krüger the next morning finds a secret path in a wall and finds a room with crates of dirt and bats on the ceiling. He opens one to find Bergin. He goes to kill him with a shovel, but is unable to and instead flees. His car is outside and he speeds away. He finds a specter of Bergin in the road and swerves to avoid it, crashing again.
Bergin’s items are moving toward Budapest on a ship, where he attacks those that work aboard. Rocca learns what has happened to Krüger and she goes to help him. While there, they are married. Baumeister is haunted and turned into a vampire by Bergin. Wiesinger meets with his former teacher, played by Giancarlo Giannini. He sees Baumeister’s wounds and knows she has been bitten by a vampire.
Can he convince her friends before it is too late? Can Bergin be stopped before he creates an army of vampires? We learn that Bergin wants to conquer the world, will he be stopped?
I have to say that this film does do some good things. I like the modern update of Bram Stoker’s tale. I really like that this brings a few of issues to the front. There are the issues of greed, morality, good vs. evil as well as belief in the supernatural. I like that this one takes place in the present, so all of the vampire films are out there, which it gives people a reason to mock what Giannini states is going on. This film does keep some of the vampire lore alive like needing to sleep on the soil of his ancestors, shape-shifting, weakness to religion and the stakes through the heart.
There are quite a few issues I had with this film though. I am all for updating what Stoker wrote and since there are so many versions out there of what he wrote, that they need to do what they can to stand out. I didn’t like that this one allowed Dracula to be out in the sunlight. When you are going to have Dracula be super-strong, there needs to be limitations on it or it just makes him super-powerful. The problem though, both death of the vampires happen in the same exact way and I thought both were poorly done, especially how Dracula is killed by Rocca. It isn’t believable and her explanation was even worse. The acting was subpar and key elements were touched upon, but widely ignored as well.
This version of Dracula has its good points, but falls short in most. I do like that it takes place in modern times, I like the issues that are brought up and the film isn’t all that bad to be honest. There are some glaring issues though. The acting is subpar, the action is weak and important elements are left off or just not used at all. Since there are so many versions of this film out there, they are graded harshly and for this reason, there are a lot of examples to compare it with. If this one sounds good, I would say give it a viewing since it is different from most, but if you want to see a good version of Dracula, then I would avoid this one.
My Rating: 4 out of 10