(Alternative Title: ‘Dracula XO’)
Director / Writer: Attila Luca
Starring: Tina Balthazar, Eric Kara, Chloe Dumas, Yves Carlevaris
Running Time: 93 mins
UK Certificate: 18
UK Release from High Fliers Films – May 18th 2015
“Horror fans will love this new slant on the Dracula legend”, claims a blurb on the DVD cover.
Another ‘new slant’ on a very well-worn monster tale, you say? Worth my time, you ask, or simply another dreary splurt-and-chomp fest full of attractive yet rather toothy protagonists which brings nothing fresh to the banquet table? My thoughts too, as I searched for info on this vamp flick by director and writer Attila Luca, offering here his first feature-length production.
It follows the story of Hannah David (played with confidence by the beguiling, vastly-cheekboned Tina Balthazar), a journalist notably booted from her previous rag for an over-enthusiastic thirst (sorry) for covering anything and everything she can unearth about Dracula, his family and his followers – yes, in this story, vampires are known to exist and their lord and master is something almost of a celebrity, and whilst he doesn’t so much court the worldwide press, he is willing to be mentioned (apparently only in a positive light) by the media, and anyone digging too deep into his habits or whereabouts appears to swiftly meet their maker in a blur of the ol’ velvet cape and dainty chain fastening.
Quite how a known mass murderer is ever able to be spoken about in the media in anything but a somewhat negative light is a puzzle to me, however, our intrepid Hannah seems intent on finding out who Dracula really is, what his origins are, where to find him, and most importantly, “interview the fuck out of him!” (The dialogue is actually mostly not as bad as this example.) So, off she jets to Paris and eventually Transylvania, assisted in her quest and research by fellow media luvvies Nate and Elle, to uncover whatever gruesome and possibly fatal secrets about the Count and cohorts they can manage.
As far as this alleged ‘new slant’ goes, the notion of Dracula not sticking to the shadows is one that is less explored, however this is mainly because the legend and its spin-off tales just simply tend to work better if Dracula, and indeed monsters in general, are not ‘believed in’ and out in the open. Other than the fanged one targeting journalists in particular, there is little here that turns the culture, telling and re-telling of the king of the undead on its head. On the plus side though, possibly due to budget constraints, we are spared the usual leather-clad, martial arts champion vampires constantly accompanied by post nu-metal that have now become so over-used a trope in horror.
Incidentally, if it’s gore you’re after (and a lot of you are!), this film doesn’t scrimp on the red stuff (albeit rather obviously added on with the click of a mouse). There is a heck of a lot of feeding goes on here, and the dribbling, draining and gorging (accompanied by convincing sound effects) is not for the squeamish. There is very much a return to a showcasing of ‘the vampire feed’ in this flick and a lot of thought appears to have gone into every bite (and no ‘ooh, let’s have the vamp’s eyes change colour while they gorge!’ cliché).
The acting is carried out competently by the cast and the script is decent – rarely does the dialogue feel stilted as it can in many low-budget pictures, and the music is rather haunting and at no point over-blown. Team this with some pleasant and well-dressed locations and sets, and you have a film with some moments of visual flair and fairly convincing characters.
The Count himself is played by seasoned actor Yves Carlevaris, and while he does a sterling job with the prowling, cackling, brooding and of course feeding (and being possibly the worst person ever to attempt to follow people inconspicuously), the character itself is certainly not about being original – the bald, needle-toothed and taloned old dude stalking Paris in a sprawling cape is rather woefully ‘by the book’ (although, to be fair, maybe Luca wasn’t intending for him to be original in appearance or actions, but it cannot help but feel hackneyed).
All in all, this offering is watchable enough and a commendable effort for a low-budget horror film, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t offer a new or especially noteworthy slant on the myth of dear old Vlad. However, if you just fancy a little slice of gore and an appreciably good cast, then it’s worth giving this one a shot.
DVD extras – Theatrical Trailer
Dracula Reborn is available to order from Amazon UK here – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dracula-Reborn-DVD-Tina-Balthazar/dp/B00TZZZCMM/