Vlad (2003)

vlad-movie-2003Imagine “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” mixed with “The Davinci Code”, imagine “Interview with the Vampire” sans the homosexual overtones, imagine “Dracula”, mixed with two Benadryl, a shot of whiskey, and a knock on the head, and you can perfectly sum up what “Vlad” is. This poor man’s “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” that becomes more of a quasi-“The Vlad Code” is a snoozer and a half, as a bunch of people try to dissect the legend of Vlad Tepes, but what sounds like a taut analyses of the legend of a war monger inevitably becomes a murky, utterly mindless, superficial quasi-thriller with people talking a lot and not saying much, characters interacting without chemistry, a lot of discovering Romanian villages without ever involving the audience, and a lot of characters walking around the forest without getting anywhere… and Billy Zane shows up at one point.

There’s a secret organization that… I dunno, want something priceless, while some magical sword warps a hot blonde blow-dried villager in to the twenty-first century on to some college students investigating Vlad Tepes… I think. I don’t know, I kept zoning out and groaning at the sheer demanding story that was too demanding of my patience and attention span for a direct-to-video ninety minute opus about Dracula that really doesn’t give a whole lot of new insight in to his legend, and in the end, it seems the writers just got bored and said “Let’s just make a climax so utterly derivative of “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”, it’s not even funny”.

So there’s the hot chick who the goateed Dracula takes from the group of college students, and they exchange bits of dialogue so complex that their exchange is mind-numbing. They have sex, and she asks “what did you do to me?” angrily, and they sit around naked, and she grunts angrily, and they have more sex, which she seems to enjoy at one point screaming at the top of her lungs, and it’s just so nonsensical and meaningless. The first half has the possibility to be a different kind of Dracula film, but it just doesn’t. It’s another vampire film centering around pretty would-be characters only doomed to get offed by the king of the vampires himself. Dracula, played by Francisco Quinn looks like a soap opera star/hunk you’d see on one of those romance novels substituting for Fabio.

Despite his immense power, fights with swords to protect himself, and the college students whom know a lot about vampires, just can’t defend themselves against the dark prince. We’re subjected to endless character exposition that just never goes anywhere remotely interesting, we’re introduced to antagonists that later disappear ala Brad Dourif who is over the top, and Billy Zane who is wooden. “Vlad” has a delusion of pseudo-intelligence, that is anything but, and conducts the story almost as if it’s unraveling itself as an elaborate mythological thriller, but it inevitably gets bogged down in the same old nonsense we see with every other STV film, because it’s just not smart enough.

The story is incredibly slow-paced with its often unexciting and lackluster “action” sequences and fantastical elements, not to mention its cast of inter-changeable characters. Trying to add the twist to this ho hum thriller, the writers and director ground the Vlad tale down in reality anxious, but what’s the point then? What’s it trying to get across? What was the deal with the sword? Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. For a ninety minute film, this sure did drag. While I’ve seen much worst DTV films, what “Vlad” basically fails to do is provide anything slightly fascinating, interesting, or exciting and just becomes a pale imitation of “The DaVinci Code” with pointless character exposition and a slug’s pace. It’s boring, very boring, and no matter how much I tried, this couldn’t keep my attention.