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Carrie / Dario Argento's Dracula 3D


Everything old is boo again.

Rod Lott January 20th, 2014

With Carrie, director Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don't Cry) bravely steps up to the challenge of remaking Brian De Palma's 1976 horror classic — one of the genre's few to boast Academy Award nominations in major categories — but one senses even she knows her version will pale.

carrie

His split-screen treatment of the senior-prom carnage becomes her condensed Final Destination sequel; his shock ending becomes her anti-bullying message. Pay no mind that the entire story is already that, with outcast Carrie White (Chloë Grace Moretz, Kick-Ass 2) becoming even more of a social punching bag after she mistakes her first menstruation as bleeding to death, and during gym class at that. Pelted with tampons — a scene that gets YouTubed — she becomes even more withdrawn, thus bringing heretofore untapped telekinetic powers to the forefront. Having an abusive, religious kook for a mother (Julianne Moore, Game Change) gives Carrie's eventual fury a good shove, too. 

 

As closely as Carrie '13 follows Carrie '76, I was surprised that the original's famous final shot is the one thing Peirce discards entirely; turns out that was for the best when you see what she did with it, presented here as an alternate ending. (On the brighter side, the Blu-ray also includes the promotional coffeehouse prank whose viral outbreak failed to convert into physical dollars.) 

 

The remake is redundant and unnecessary and other unflattering adjectives, but "bad" is not among them. It's not this film's fault that a majority of today's audience members refuse to see a movie older than they are, and since it's less risky for studios to bet on brand names, Stephen King's first novel again hits the big screen. Of course it has better effects, yet to no greater effect. 



Poor effects all but doom Dario Argento's Dracula 3D, an odd-duck remake of Bram Stoker's ubiquitous vampire novel that has seen adaptations from directors as varied as Jess Franco, Werner Herzog and Francis Ford Coppola. Somehow, Argento's take seems to crib from all three. 


It's the kind the project that excites on paper, only to disappoint upon arrival. Although it's gorier than most Dracula adaptations, I'm just not sure why it was needed. That said, it's the only one I know of to sport a giant praying mantis and an end-credit declaration that "All the actors and the whole film crew drank ACQUA LAURETANA."


Dracula 3D is not the spoiled Italian sausage it's made out to be; it's simply routine and bears none of the director's celebrated hallmarks, save one shot involving a slow-motion bullet through the mouth and into the head. You'll know it when you see it. Viewers expecting the maestro to deliver another primo giallo will hate it; temper the expectations toward a straightforward Gothic tale like Hammer Films used to make, but with more bare breasts. 


Playing Count Dracula is Thomas Kretschmann, who rather strangely stars as Van Helsing on NBC's current Dracula TV series. The Van Helsing here is Rutger Hauer (The Heineken Kidnapping), who jolts the proceedings awake once he finally shows up, in hour two, but it's not enough to truly give the show some juice. 

 

IFC Midnight's Blu-ray includes both the 3-D and 2-D versions on one disc; the movie looks curiously flat in 2-D, but the computer effects are god-awful no matter how many dimensions. Clearly, they are at least 25 years behind the times. As the count himself says, "I am nothing but an out-of-tune chord." — Rod Lott


Hey! Read This:

The Cat o' Nine Tails Blu-ray review

Game Change film review

The Heineken Kidnapping DVD review

Twins of Evil Blu-ray review


 
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