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Heffalumps and Woozles: Netflix’s Dracula (2020)

INTRODUCTION: I don’t think I need to remind my audience how much I love Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Here is the review on the novel for you. So naturally, I came across Netflix’s Dracula “series” and well, I’m perplexed as to who exactly greenlit this and why. It’s not really a series. 3 one hour and thirty minute episodes aren’t really a series. It could have been two six hour movies and it might have got somewhere. I do not like the liberties they took with the novel, but it isn’t all bad. So is it worth watching?

CHARACTERS: All of the original players are there with some new friends as well. Trigger warning for those who hate woke culture, one character from the book is gender swapped and the other is color swapped. The new characters are interesting, such as the Doctor from India. The other’s had some potential if given more screen time but ultimately, it doesn’t work. Harker is worse than in the novel, his fiancé Mina is all but forgotten about, the queer nun is very intriguing and Dracula is very fun mix of the old Hammer style with homages to other Dracula’s as well.

ACTING: Even the bit players are phenomenal. Dracula and Van Helsing are the only two really memorable performances, but the others are no slouches, you won’t come away from this like one would an 80’s slasher, with remembering how bad the bit actors are. All of them are excellent at what they do and deserve to be there with all the stars.

SFX: Pretty damn good! You can tell this was done on a very good budget, but slightly more money couldn’t have hurt.

TENSION: Virtually nonexistent. You get three jump scares and nothing more for “horror” in this, except for maybe some visuals, which isn’t enough to make you scared. It needed to be better.

DIALOGUE: Excellent! Nothing cringe worthy, unless you are a stickler for historical accuracy. Very excellent quotable in this as well, outside of the iconic lines from the novel.

CONCLUSION: So while I hate the fact they changed the source material to “freshen” this up and ultimately failed at that, they still kind of crafted a semi interesting “show”. It lacks suspense and intrigue, but makes up for some of it with homages to old shows and movies. Buffy the Vampire Slayer gets a reference in episode three with the way one vampire is dispensed. This is a movie that didn’t need to happen, but yet it did. It was as if the idea was born from a drunk watching of Dracula: dead and loving it and said “what if someone did that in a serious tone.” This is most noticeable when Renfeild, now Dracula’s lawyer, goes on about Vampire rights. The last part of season one takes place in the future, which sucks, because you’re introduced to all new characters whom are related to the old source characters and different from the first three hours of character development you got, so you don’t care for the resolution at all. It is as if they wrote themselves into a corner and didn’t know how to get out without such trite writing. Still, it has it has its moments and isn’t a complete let down. I don’t quite understand how they will take this to another season. Much like the Haunting of Hill House, it isn’t the worse thing, but it sure as hell is well below the mark.

3 out of 5 stars.