Bram Stoker’s Dracula, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, is a horror movie based on the book Dracula by Bram Stoker. The movie takes plenty of liberties though, like making Mina and Dracula love interests. Despite the music, I didn’t find it particularly romantic. Trigger warning for the movie for rape—Lucy was compelled against her will, so yes, it’s rape.
Dracula sets off to battle and comes home to his beloved Elisabeta having committed suicide, having been lead to believe that Dracula was dead. Enraged at being told Elisabeta’s soul is condemned, Dracula busts up the chapel and denounces God. Fast-forward four-hundred years and Jonathan Harker, played dismally by Keanu Reeves, goes to Transylvania with a picture of Mina, who just happens to be the twin—implied to be the reincarnation—of Elisabeta. When Dracula gets to England, he seeks out Mina, and rapes and murders her dearest friend Lucy while wooing Mina. I’m still not clear why Mina stopped being rude to him, she had every right. And that’s just one of the disjointed elements of this movie. The dialog at the beginning especially, between Dracula and Jonathan, and between Dracula and the female vampires seems…just off.
I’m usually a sucker for vampire movies, and I’m aware that sex and death go hand in hand in these kinds of movies especially. But the way that Lucy’s rape, suffering, death, and second death are sexualized and sensualize really disturbed me and prevented me from enjoying most of the movie.
Let’s talk about the good things, namely the visuals. Apparently nothing was CGI in this film, everything was practical effects, and the effort shows. The initial battle scenes are horrific despite, or perhaps because of, being mostly in black silhouettes against a red background. And the train running along the top of the diary entry. And the sumptuous costumes. And…and…and. If I keep listing every visual I loved, I’ll never get to the end of this post.
I didn’t really enjoy this movie, but if you’re ok with the bad things, it’s worth watching at least once for the stunning visual effects.