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Bram Stoker's Dracula (4K restoration reissue)


Stars: Gary Oldman, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Cary Elwes, Richard E Grant, Sadie Frost, Tom Waits, Monica Bellucci, Billy Campbell, Jay Robinson

Director: Francis Ford Coppola

A 4K restoration of Coppola's venture into vampire folklore, showing in more than 100 cinemas across the UK.

The turn of the century. When a previous assignee, Renfield (Waits), goes mad after visiting Count Dracula's castle in Transylvania, young barrister Jonathan Harker (Reeves) is sent to negotiate with the count (Oldman) in his place.

While Harker is captured an imprisoned by Dracula, the count himself travels to London, obsessed with a photograph of Jonathan's fiancee Mina (Ryder). Here he begins a reign of seduction and terror, progressively sucking the lifeblood from Mina's close friend Lucy (Frost), whose suitors join forces to try to save her.

An Oscar winner for costume design and nominated for production design, Coppola's version of the vampire legend flaunts its sense of style with some justification, the opening sequences showing Dracula's origins being particularly breathtaking.

The scenes in Edwardian England are pretty good too, and Oldman's eccentric count proves an evil and convincing predator - 'I have crossed oceans of time to find you,' he tells Ryder's hapless Mina - making this one of the sexiest as well as creepiest Draculas in history.

There's lots of bloodletting too, but what's missing is any sense of fear or real horror. The downside also includes Hopkins' unexpectedly camp performance as vampire-hunter Van Helsing, and Reeves' truly embarrassing attempt at an English accent, Chuckles and creeps here, then, but scarcely a chill in sight.

David Quinlan

USA/UK 1982. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour by FotoKem (Technicolor print).
128 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 05 Oct 2022