Dear Dracula review (DVD)

Not so long ago, gothic horror was not mainstream and was cast aside by audiences like Frankenstein’s Monster. Nowadays it’s one of the main film genres, so much so that it now has kid’s cartoons being made about it. Last year we had the wonderfully funny Hotel Transylvania and Frankenweenie, which played to all ages.

Dear Dracula rides on the bat wings of those films and is looking at the same demographic to pick it up and watch it. The major stumbling block it has is that it looks and feels more like a cartoon for much younger kids, say in the region of 3-7 years old. Sam lives with his grandma and idolises Dracula, so when he pens a letter to the Count it is decided the vampire and his servant will visit the young boy. Upon arriving there Dracula discovers that no one is afraid of him, and it’s left to Sam to help the bloodsucker regain his ability to scare.

It’s been designed in the horrible modern day CGI where everything is shiny and has smooth edges – even the fangs are rounded. It’s difficult to look past this most of the time because it looks so out of place. The film has got more of the look of a video game such as The Sims than a CGI film. All the characters have the same characteristics as Sims people, and even move in the same way – making it all look rather stilted and jerky. The story does what it does, no better or worse than expected, but for the short run time it seems awfully void of any seriously good Halloween jokes. It does poke fun at Twilight, but aren’t we past that now?  There’s no meat on the bone to get stuck into.

Kids are very savvy, and if something isn’t holding their attention then they will be off doing other things. Dear Dracula doesn’t quite grasp the plot tight enough to make it a redeemable watch and it offers nothing else in terms of style. Dracula has been demoted to cute and cuddly rather than scary and blood sucking – Stoker is spinning in his grave.

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Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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