Sometimes the existence of certain movies defies logic – they exist when they really shouldn’t. Dracula: The Dark Prince is once such film. Somebody wrote it (three people in fact: Nicole Jones-Dion, Steven Paul and Pearry Reginald Teo), directed it (Teo), funded it (Castel Film Romania) and then released it (Kaleidoscope Entertainment). A series of decisions were made down the line that led to its existence. I ask you one thing – why?
It takes Bram Stoker’s tale and runs it through a mangler, picking and choosing from plots of other, much better Dracula movies – and when those movies are Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Van Helsing, you know you’re in trouble. A little bit of Francis Ford Coppola’s movie and a dash of Stephen Sommers’ CGI bastardisation creates a movie with such an uneven tone that it feels like a cinematic seesaw. Teo has no idea who his audience is, the film lurches from Underworld-style action to Xena: Warrior Princess-type romp culminating in sub-Zalman King. semi-softcore erotic dross. The plot has something to do with the doppelganger of Dracula’s long dead love (Kelly Wenham) and something called a ‘lightbringer’ – it’s all too boring to even ponder. Suffice to say, it lacks originality.
What Jon Voight is doing here is anyone’s guess. At least he’s covered in some (admittedly decent) prosthetic make-up as Van Helsing. To give him credit, he doesn’t phone-in his performance, which considering the material he’s dealing with, makes him some sort of acting saint. Luke Roberts’ Dracula is another thing entirely. He looks like a member of some forgotten 1980s pop-band; a terrible wig and ridiculous facial hair make him the least frightening Dracula to ever grace the screen and he hasn’t got much bite in the acting department either.
This Romanian shot effort looks cheap, and not ‘fun cheap’ in a B-movie type way. The cinematography is flat, the sets look like fibreglass and the poorly choreographed action, bad green screens and lacklustre CGI mean that this fails in every category. I pity those who have to put this on their filmography.
There’s probably an audience out there for Dracula: The Dark Prince – but pray you’re not friends with anyone who thinks this is even remotely enjoyable.
Interviews with cast members who appear to be under the impression they’re making something good, a deconstruction of the CGI behind Dracula’s castle and a trailer. It’s a package that’s surprisingly good considering the film it accompanies.