This is the umpteenth retelling of Bram Stoker's tale about a bloodsucking...uh...bloodsucker. But this time, it's heavy on the romance and eroticism.
Gary Oldman is the title character, complete with prerequisite Oldman goofy accent. Drac meets Jonathon Harker (Keanu "Dude" Reeves) and discovers that Harker's woman Mina (Winona Ryder) is looking a lot like his old love, who died many moons ago, and whom he was waited for all this time. It was because of her death that he renounced God, embraced Satan and vampirism and became who/what he is. So Drac takes off for London, showing up much younger, wearing these John Lennon sunglasses, long hair and sporting quite the dapper wardrobe. He's gonna woo Mina back to Transylvania or die trying.
What's stopping him? Professor Abraham Von Helsing (Anthony Hopkins), an expert on the vampire. He's onto Drac, and he ultimately kills Drac's first London conquest, Mina's friend Lucy (Sadie Frost), calling her the Devil's concubine and slicing the ol' noggin off. He ends up in Transylvania (with Mina) for a final showdown.
Heavy on the visuals (they're gorgeous, though) but somewhat light on a working narrative, Dracula's almost operatic. It plays like a tragedy, and in a sense, it is. I hesitate to call it a modern horror masterpiece, but as horror films go, it's got quite the pedigree. The actors (with the possible exception of Keanu "check me for a pulse" Reeves) jump headfirst into their roles. Lots of heaving breasts and breathless dialogue, but also lots of emotion through shouting. It's not Francis Ford Coppola's best work, but it's also not his most commerical, either.
But it's good. Visually stunning, and nicely acted.Plus Tom Waits is Renfield. Tom Waits!