In the mountains of Transylvania, Count Dracula's castle is situated. Jonathan Harker is on his way from England to catalogue Dracula's library. It is obvious to Jonathan that Dracula is a peculiar man, but before he knows it he is a prisoner in Dracula's castle. When Jonathan manages to escape from the castle, Dracula is going after Jonathan's fiancÈe Mina and her friend.
Dario Argento has never been my favorite Italian director, but he has achieved greatness in his years in the horror business. Even in the later years he has made some interesting movies between "Sleepless" and "Do You Like Hitchcock?". I have skipped a few of his titles that came after that ("Giallo" and "Mother of Tears", but with "Dracula" he has finally proved that he is not fit to make movies anymore.
The story is a jumbled mess despite being based on a widely known book, which has been adapted to film a number of times. This is the only reason that I managed to follow what was going on in the movie. Part of the struggle was that it's just poorly put together, but I can't deny that because most things in the movie are awful it was hard to even concentrate to begin with.
It's the classic story of the legendary vampire Count Dracula with a few twists. Count Dracula lives in a castle in Transylvania. Jonathan Harker comes over from England to work with Dracula's library. He's being kept a prisoner to Dracula but manages to escape after a meeting with a few sexual vampire women. Unfortunately, Dracula is out after his fianÈe Mina and her friend Lucy. Mina remindsd Dracula of his since long dead wife.
My favorite telling of "Dracula" is Tod Browning's 1931 classic, but there are several entertaining adaptions (and some of probably more faithful to Bram Stoker's book, though I absolutely hate the 1992 version). The fact that Dario Argento, someone regarded so highly for his unique voice in horror and amazing visuals, managed to screw up such a classic story and character is beyond comprehension. I understand wanting to get your own version out there when you deal with something so established, but this wasn't even interesting. The most interesting scene (and coincidentally worst scene) is when Dracula turns into a huge cricket. If that's how Argento wanted to differentiate, then he probably shouldn't have made the movie.
I watched the 2D version, which does make a difference when the movie was shot and made entirely for 3D. The movie in its 2D state is hideous. It has a few interesting shots, but overall it just looks bad. The sets are fake looking and the CGI effects are nearly unacceptable. I am sure that if you sit in a cinema, watching this in 3D then a few of the huge flaws will be forgiven (or missed completely), so I will give the movie the benefit of the doubt. The story and its characters, however, wouldn't change and they stink just as bad.
Everyone has an idea of how they want Dracula as a character to look (as "Dracula Untold" would prove), but Argento somehow decided to go with the most bland and unintriguing look. It's not the actors fault - they could have done plenty to get him to look right. I had an easier time accepting "Blacula"! You just know that something is wrong when the least eye-catching character in the movie is Dracula himself.
Nothing about Argento's "Dracula" remotely gets close to showing over 40 years of experience in horror. If I hadn't known any better, I'd guess it was someone with just a few titles under his belt (if even that). It's shocking how bad it is in every way. It might be more entertaining in 3D, but I can't recommend that you give it a shot.
P.S. I've always found it odd when Asia Argento is naked in Dario Argento's movies.