Cinema/TV, Film Notes

Your Daily Dracula – Sean Cronin, Wrath of Dracula (2023)

Your Daily Dracula – Sean Cronin, Wrath of Dracula (2023)

Writer-director Steve Lawson specialises in period gothics and has made Jekyll/Hyde and Ripper movies; he now seems to be making Dracula by instalments.  His Bram Stoker’s Van Helsing focused on the Lucy-in-bed section of the novel.  This not-a-sequel brings back Mark Topping as a Peter Cushing-style Van Helsing – and, in a photograph, Charlie Bond as Lucy – but centres on Mina Harker (Hannaj Bang Bendz) and her quest to rescue her husband Jonathan (Dean Marshall) from Castle Dracula then avenge his ill-treatment by the Count (Sean Cronin) and his brides (Ayvianna Snow, Marta Svetek, Jasmine Sumner).

It’s sometimes almost comically minimalist – the Inn in Bistritz seems staffed only by a proprietor (Chris Lines) and a barmaid (Shady Murphy) who spend all their time polishing glasses in cutaway shots – and imports one terribly strange element as Mina learns kung fu from the pictures in a Chinese book before going into battle against vampires so Bendz can use her martial arts skills.

Typically for Lawson, it’s rather chatty – little of the talk comes from Bram Stoker, but we get long asides about Van Helsing’s mad wife or Mina’s struggles to be taken seriously (she is converted to rational dress) – and occasionally on the low-key, respectable side … there’s less blood than in the average Hammer Dracula and it holds back from presenting vampires or vampire-hunters as eroticised figures.  Cronin’s Dracula is given the Colonel Kurtz treatment – seen first in close-ups of his eyes, then in shadow with his Max Schreck bald head, only coming into something like the light late in the day and holding back on flashing his (unusual) fangs until a final conflict which hinges on a familiar martial arts movie trope (note how smug the Count is when Mina loses her hammer).

It leaves out so much plot and so many characters from the book that Lawson could easily pick up and do a Demeter, Renfield, Carfax Alley or a London-to-Transylvania chase movie next.

NB: out this week.


One thought on “Your Daily Dracula – Sean Cronin, Wrath of Dracula (2023)

  1. Did not like this film at all . Count dracula more like the blues brothers . No excitement very poor

    Posted by Jennifer | September 9, 2023, 8:45 am

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: