Wednesday, April 17, 2013

DRACULA 3D (2012) movie review

Dracula 3D (2012) d. Argento, Dario (Italy)

When settling in to watch the latest opus from Artist Formerly Known As The Italian Hitchcock, it’s best to pay close attention to the full onscreen title. Make no mistake, this is Dario Argento’s Dracula and comparisons to either the Stoker source novel or any of the myriad screen versions that have gone before are beside the point. Recognizable character names and traits exist, but only as the most perfunctory of placeholders so that Argento and his team of screenwriters can gussy things up good and messy. The results are howlingly hilarious or damned depressing, depending on one’s state of mind and surroundings.

Watching within the BIFFF crowd’s unfettered boisterousness, I enjoyed myself to near conniption, screaming with laughter at the chintzy chills and mind-blowing awfulness of nearly every performance. (Seriously, was there a bet on?) Asia Argento should know by this point that daddy dear is incapable of bringing out her best, while Marta Gastini and Unax Ugalde – as doomed lovers Mina and Jonathan Harker – seem hellbent on establishing new watermarks for shitty thesping. As the Caped One, Thomas Kretschmann doggedly plays his sole sour growly note while Rutger Hauer’s Van Helsing summons every last ounce of weathered charismatic gravitas to keep the train on the tracks until the credits crawl.

The vivid color palette replicates Hammer’s halcyon days, albeit with shoddier effects and 3D work that looks plucked from a child’s Classic Lit cover, each plane as flat and artificial as the CGI fangs springing from Kretschmann’s chompers. Speaking of keyboard magic, Argento takes the Count’s shapeshifting abilities to jaw-dropping and forehead tattooing heights. From owls to wolves to swarms of flies to a GIANT FUCKING PRAYING MANTIS, this is one vamp who really likes to show off his supernatural wardrobe.

Similar to Mother of Tears, Dracula is a certifiable but undeniably energetic train wreck, one that throws up glorious middle fingers to anything resembling mainstream thrills or aesthetic competency. I’m not sure what Il Maestro thinks he’s doing these days, or if he’s actually in on the joke at this point, but he’s unveiled a unapologetically inept turkey of galactic proportions. Boobs, blood and beasts fly left, right and sideways, a clear indicator that while Argento may have lost his gift for innovative cinema, he still has enough fire in the belly to frantically chuck stuff at the screen and pray for the best. (With f/x grandmaster Sergio Stivaletti manning the Karo syrup blood pumps, something has to stick, right?) All I can say is that I hope Dario’s still having fun, because I sure his expense.

--Aaron Christensen, HorrorHound Magazine

For additional chuckles, check out the hilarious musings of Video Junkie Strikes Back 's Thomas Sueyres HERE

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