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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Vampire > Literature > British TV > Telefilm > Bram Stokerís Dracula (2006/WGBH/Granada)

Bram Stokerís Dracula (2006/WGBH/Granada)

 

Picture: C+†††† Sound: C+†††† Extras: C-†††† Telefilm: C+

 

 

Maybe Dracula is one of the most filmed characters of all time, but will he continue to reign in the digital era?After seeing a few hundred awful Horror Indies shot in digital and even in HD, the new British Granada telefilm version of Bram Stokerís Dracula (2006) may be the first A-type production of the classic book.British TV has a great Horror past, but will that continue?

 

Well, in the case of both, they may but with changes.Shooting in HD makes a difference and not always for the better.Being a ďquality TVĒ production that actually landed up on Masterpiece Theater, how far would they go?Needless to say blood is minimal and it tries like so many other productions to stick to Stokerís book, but HDís Video Red is still not fully realized, leading to convenient censorship.

 

Mark Warren is the famous monster, cast to be somewhat more appealing than monstrous, but here to display some sexuality more akin to the non-repulsive model with only touches of Nosferatu-model.However, this version is trying so hard to be literate that it is never scary.Stewart Harcourtís script has nice touches, like the occasional second language you rarely hear in other adaptations, but Bill Eaglesí directing is too subtle and restrained for its own good.

 

Yes, this is radical for a PBS/British production and there are still moments of violence, nudity and blood to send the avid viewer of kilter a bit.However, Horror fans will not be as impressed and as a fan of the book and character, the mentality of this version is less means more and might be the only version that thinks you have already read the book.

 

Not that you need to to understand this version, especially with so many others around, but it has all those versions to compete with and unlike most of the books they have made/featured as productions, this is the one everyone actually knows!

 

Sophia Myles plays Lucy and fans of Dr. Who will find this interesting just by her showing up in such a key role, while David Suchet is a mixed Van Helsing.Joining the mostly unknown but impeccable actors is David Glover as Stephens, a longtime character actor in the genre who has been doping great character turns on TV and in film since the 1960s.Unfortunately, the makers donít do enough with that and though this is very competent and professional, the lack of love of the subject ultimately sinks this Dracula.

 

The letterboxed 1.78 X 1 image is stylized and I liked the way the HD was shot straight without color degradation (HD has enough troubles of its own), the editing is not sloppy and there is hardly any of the tired, shaky camerawork.That should have made this more watchable, but it turns out to be too dull despite stability.Detail is limited and maybe this would look better in HD and/or anamorphically enhanced, but that would not improve the form.

 

The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has no major surrounds and is cleanly recorded.There are no major extras, but this will be a curio title.I also did not buy the ending, but fans should see this one for themselves just the same at least once.

 

 

-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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