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Dracula's Guest (2008)

PG-13  |   |  Adventure, Horror, Thriller  |  24 July 2009 (Germany)
3.1
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Ratings: 3.1/10 from 415 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 13 critic

Based upon Bram Stoker's short stories, Dracula's Guest follows the story of two young lovers, Bram and Elizabeth, who are forced by her father, the Admiral Murray, to take a one year ... See full summary »

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Title: Dracula's Guest (2008)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Mrs. Witham
...
...
Kelsey McCann ...
Elizabeth
...
Admiral Murray
...
Malcolm
...
Mrs. Murray
...
Mr. Quartermane
...
Johann (as Robert Ragis)
Maya Waterman ...
Shanty Woman
...
Pierre
Robert William Madrigal ...
Dracula's Carriage Driver
Nino Simon ...
Herr Delbruch
Andy Parks ...
Conductor
...
German Captain
Edit

Storyline

Based upon Bram Stoker's short stories, Dracula's Guest follows the story of two young lovers, Bram and Elizabeth, who are forced by her father, the Admiral Murray, to take a one year probation from their relationship in order to determine whether their love is true. Meanwhile, the Count Dracula is in London searching for a new home and coincidentally, or not, comes across young Elizabeth at the train station after she's run away from home and her father's overbearing ways. Dracula, though, proceeds to kidnap her and take Elizabeth to his castle where he waits for her father's arrival to settle an ancient dispute. Meanwhile, Bram' friend Malcolm sets out to inform Bram of Elizabeth' kidnapping but he soon falls to Dracula's evil ways. And, upon finding his best friend dead Bram sets out across Europe to rescue his true love. Written by BEI

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some violence | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

24 July 2009 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

A Hóspede de Drácula de Bram Stoker  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Grade Z horror director branches out with little success
8 August 2008 | by (Dallas, TX) – See all my reviews

This is a VERY ambitious undertaking for Michael Feifer, who usually keeps to grade "Z" horror, and he is really in over his head. In fact, most of the actors are also in over their head in this vampire period piece. The accents, the acting, all are amateur at best (with one or two notable exceptions). The film does have a few merits, but they are overwhelmed by the poor direction and overall lackluster acting.

This tale is based on one of Stoker's short stories where Elizabeth is trapped by Dracula in his castle and Bram Stoker (himself) must save her. Obviously it takes liberties with the actual short stories (placing the author himself in the tome), but it is based on a couple of Stoker's tales, one of which is Dracula's Guest (the same name as the film).

In this film, Bram Stoker (yes, the lead character is named after the writer of the story this is based upon) and Elizabeth Murray are engaged to be married. Stoker is a junior associate at a real estate firm who gets his chance at a promotion through handling the property search for Count Dracula (obviously, it is very similar thus far in exposition to Stoker's novel, Dracula). Elizabeth's father, Admiral Murray (played terribly by Dan Speaker) refuses to give Bram his daughter's hand in marriage until they have separated — with no contact — for one year. Bram acquiesces to the Admiral's wishes much to the chagrin of Elizabeth who runs away in response where she runs into the Count who takes her to his castle by casting a spell over her. There he imprisons her to get to her father who the Count says descends from a long line of vampire hunters who have "wreaked havoc on {his} family for centuries". It seems Dracula wants to breed with Elizabeth to bear a child which will lift the curse on his family, by creating a new race of super vampires (one presumes, because actually his plot is confusing and never fully understood). Bram sets out to rescue Elizabeth, which pits him against the Count.

The film does manage a few positive elements, however one of them is *not* the soundtrack, which seems like it was created by a high school amateur in his living room on a Casio keyboard. Dracula is played by an actor (Andrew Bryniarski) who usually plays the stupid jock in films (The Program, Higher Learning) which is probably what he should continue playing, as he is not capable of pulling off a challenging and meaty role like Dracula. Andrew hams it up terribly, and for some reason constantly waves his hands around his face like he is auditioning to be a hand model.

Particularly bad is Dan Speaker who plays Admiral Murray, he is simply not an actor or shouldn't be. Second worse is Kelsey McCann who plays Elizabeth; she is very clearly a native product of California struggling (abysmally) to play an English débutante. Those two alone make it very, very difficult to keep watching the film. To be fair though, Kelsey does get a bit better as the film goes along, but not enough to merit her playing this role. The actor who plays Bram, Wes Ramsey, however does show potential. His acting is very natural and his accent quite realistic especially considering he was born in Louisville, Kentucky. He even manages to speak in a somewhat "lower-class" English dialect (a bit Cockney), which helps us understand the Admiral's objections to his marriage to Elizabeth who is from the upper classes.

The real crime though is committed by Feifer who has clearly not prepared his actors for their roles. I would doubt they did any rehearsal as each scene seems like the first time any of the actors have read the material. In fact, each scene seems like the first take he shot, as if Feifer is conserving film or a product of the Ed Wood school of film-making where the first take is the only take. The final sword fight in particular is a victim of this poor direction... it is pure camp, ridiculous and unrealistic. Count Dracula and the Admiral drone on and on, reciting the most inane dialog. The movie ends abruptly, with a sappy denouement.

Production however is one area which rises above. The sets and items like carriages seem authentic to the period. Some however are a bit out-of-place, for example the scene where Elizabeth seeks to leave Dracula's mansion and ends up in a hallway of stored crematory urns. It is clearly a modern crypt (an indoor cemetery). It looked to me like the Hollywood crypt I visited as a tourist many years ago. Still, many of the sets are very good. The costumes are by far the best element in this film, particularly considering the shoestring budget with which this movie was made. A couple of times there appears an anachronistic shirt collar and such, but overall the costume design is superior.

In different hands and with a better cast this story would have merit. It is one that hasn't been seen in the mainstream, although Coppola did direct the quintessential Bram Stoker novel, Dracula (a different story than this). The production designer has a lot to be proud of (as does the costumer) and lets hope we see more from Wes Ramsey, but the director should stick with low budget horror films.


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