Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) Movie Review: Done by Rancel
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) is a gothic romance horror movie directed and produced by Francis Ford Coppola. It is based on the novel of the same name by Bram Stoker. The cast includes,as Count Dracula, Winona Ryder as Mina Harker, Anthony Hopkins as Professor Abraham Van Helsing, and Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula was both a critical and box office hit in 1992. The musical score was composed by Wojciech Kilar and featured “Love Song for a Vampire” by Annie Lennox, which became an international hit, as the closing credits theme.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula begins with a Romanian Knight, Vlad Tepes (Gary Oldman) and his fall from grace, after being stricken with the loss of his love Elisabeta (Winona Ryder). Somehow while stating he will exact his revenge on god and the world, Vlad becomes one with the powers of darkness, and turns into a vampire.
Several hundred years later in 1897. A man named Jonathan Harker (Keanu Reeves) arrives at Count Dracula’s castle in Transylvania to sell him the property of Carfax Abbey in London, England. While Mr. Harker is there getting acquainted with Count Dracula (Gary Oldman), the Count takes notice of a pendant necklace he is wearing that contains a picture of Mr. Harker’s fiancée, Mina. Count Dracula notices the resemblance to his Elisabeta and immediately thinks she is the reincarnation of his deceased lover.
Dracula departs for London by ship with boxes of his native soil, taking up residence in Carfax Abbey. He leaves Jonathan Harker to be seduced and drained of blood by his gypsy vampire brides. The newly arrived Count Dracula, now appearing young and handsome looking, seduces and charms Mina (Winona Ryder) on the streets of London. He also begins to feed on her closest friend Lucy (Sadie Frost). Soon after Mina receives a letter from the nuns in a convent stating Jonathan Harker has escaped Dracula’s Castle and is being taken care of by them.
Mina travels to the convent in Transylvania to marry Jonathan Harker. Count Dracula finds out and in his rage, he fully converts Lucy into one of his vampire brides. The eccentric Professor Van Helsing (Anthony Hopkins), along with the help of Dr. Jack Seward (Richard E. Grant), Lord Arthur Holmwood (Cary Elwes), and Quincey P. Morris (Billy Campbell), kill Lucy to free her from the vampire curse.
The newlyweds, Jonathan and Mina return to London, England, and they find out what has transpired since they were gone. Jonathan Harker, Professor Van Helsing, Dr. Jack Seward, Lord Arthur Holmwood, Quincey P. Morris all arrive at Carfax Abbey and destroy the boxes of earth Dracula has been sleeping in.
Renfield (Tom Waits), a patient of Dr. Jack Seward at his asylum warns Mina to stay away from Count Dracula. Despite the warnings from Renfield and the Count himself, telling Mina that he is responsible for Lucy’s death. In her confused and angry state confesses her love to Dracula, who then obliges her request to make her his vampire bride. Jonathan Harker, Professor Van Helsing, and the others race against time to stop and destroy Dracula from completely turning Mina into one of his kin.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) is a rarity in the movie remake field, where they take an old classic and somehow improve upon it. The movie is very extravagant with great production values and terrific performances by the cast members. From the dark, disturbing, and morbid prologue, that displays Vlad Tepes transformation from a warrior of god to his fall into a creature that would be despised by all, you knew the film was going to be unique and great from the very beginning.
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The majority of the actors gave outstanding performances, especially Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins. Gary Oldman has his own unique way of playing Dracula with some respect to Bela Lugosi. He is noble, strong, seductive, and adds a certain physical presence in his portrayal. Gary Oldman does a great job pulling off the Eastern European Romanian accent. He sounds almost like Bela Lugosi when he says,” Listen to them, the children of the night.” “What sweet music they make.”
I also enjoyed his other line he delivers with intimidating fury, “it is no laughing matter!” “We Draculs have a right to be proud!” “What devil or witch was ever so great as Attila, whose blood flows in these veins?” “Blood… [Giving a sinister laugh]“ Gary Oldman was actually scarier when he was in the old man make-up version of Dracula. Anthony Hopkins is great as well as the determined and sometimes funny Professor Van Helsing.
Sadie Frost did a good job in her supporting role as a far different Lucy in this version. She is very convincing as a slutty, free-spirited, and whore like Lucy. She’s a good actress, but I have never seen her in anything else. Guess she doesn’t act much, but Sadie shows she’s talented in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Cary Elwes, Richard Grant, Billy Campbell all gave spirited performances in their supporting roles as well. As for bad acting in Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), it comes from Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves. Winona Ryder, who is very pretty to look at does not do a good British accent. She seems out of place in this, and isn’t very convincing. Winona Ryder seems challenged by the emotions required to be displayed by her character.
Winona Ryder is also rather fragile looking, since she is so tiny and could use some weight on her. They should have hired another actress a few years older than her or perhaps one that is more mature looking, but I guess they wanted to draw in her teen and young adult fan base. She does get better later on in the film when the vampire’s blood overtakes her for a brief period. Keanu Reeves, who has no range and is notorious for being a really bad wooden actor, cannot do a British accent at all. He should have never been cast in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Keanu was obviously cast for the movie to draw in the female audience.
One of my favorite scenes in Bram Stoker’s Dracula is the erotic and somewhat disturbing Dracula’s Castle sequence which has Keanu Reeves being ravaged by Dracula’s Gypsy Vampire Brides. The scene has a nude and younger Monica Bellucci looking sensual and sexy in her Vampire make-up. You get to see her luscious breasts in all their glory. Musician, Tom Wait’s gives a rather creepy performance as Dracula’s bug eating servant and asylum patient Renfield. I do prefer the campy Dwight Frye version from the 1931 Dracula. I just love his demented sounding laughter and the grin he displayed in that version.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), features some of the best horror movie make-up, set designs, and special effects I have ever seen. I love the costumes, the look of old man Dracula, his suit of armor in the beginning, the blood flowing out of the cross in the prologue, his transformation into a bat Vampire form, and his Werewolf form. The appearance of Dracula’s Castle is quite terrifying; it really looks like a dreadful place you would not want to be near, with its dark atmosphere. The special effect of a superimposed image fading, that they use with Dracula’s eyes in the sky, while Jonathan Harker rides the train to Transylvania is very cool. I’ll admit despite my hatred for remakes, I wonder if they made a big budget remake again of the Dracula story, with today’s improved special effects and with another good cast of actors, could Hollywood pull it off again and make it even better. I doubt it, but I’m curious to see if they can, since I love Dracula and Vampire horror films in general.
Click here to buy Bram Stoker’s Dracula [Blu-ray]
Filed Under: Horror
About the Author: Hello and welcome to Rancel's Movie, TV Show, Animated Films, and Japanese Anime Review Website. I love writing, watching films (especially foreign cinema and horror), playing video games, listening to music, repairing computers, and spending time with people I love. I have always been into the world of cinema, animated films, and TV series. So now as an adult I am an amateur film reviewer and intend on getting a degree in journalism.