Quick Critique: Christmas at Draculas

(Originally published 23 April 2015)

Ever came up with a crazy idea for a film with your mates? This guy made a movie about that.

Directed by newcomer Simon McKeon, Christmas at Draculas (or Christmas at Dracula’s depending on who you ask) is a madcap and totally insane little flick. It makes it distinct, but it also makes it difficult to say whether or not it would appeal to you. Did you read the title and were intrigued? Then go ahead and check it out.

It’s not just the Christmas theme on our favourite vamp that makes it stick out, either. It has a Frankenstein conflicted by his sexual identity, a Wicked Witch who takes too much to that name and has a bit of a drug problem, Dr. Jekyll drinking himself to Mister Hyde, professional assassins John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald who constantly bicker about who killed the ‘better one’, to list out just a few of the crazy ideas that just fly on the wall in this film.

And, for the most part, it works. The movie has the humour and, surprisingly, the pathos to buy into this balmy dark approach. If anything, though, it can be a bit much. There’s just so much going on in the script, that the film has little room to breath. There are ideas and concepts that could have been further developed to make the film feel more complete, and the structure could be cleaner, but there’s enough in the film to make you laugh and, surprisingly enough, make you cry.

The film is a micro-budget production, and while it left a few audio issues that sadly may not have been able to be cleaned, the production hides this pretty impressively. The cinematography is baroque and gothic, allowing you to get immersed into this crazy world, whilst never losing that sense of fun.

The cast have an interesting range and take their performances seriously, which plays off the movie well. Conor Dwane does a great send up to Bela Lugosi. He has a theatrical presence and truly carries most of the film on his shoulders. Dave Coon is also wonderful at the Grim Reaper, being suitably threatening while also composed and fun. Mike O’Dowd is absolutely hilarious as Igor, with a lot of subtle ticks that makes him so much fun to watch. He also carries one of the standout moments in the movie powerfully, but I dare not ruin it.

Christmas at Draculas is a true labour of love. It took forever to make (NOT THAT I KNOW THE GUYS PERSONALLY OR ANYTHING! Come on-they live so far away from me), and every pour of enthusiasm and can-do attitude appears on the screen. It may not be for everyone, but if you’re looking for something kooky, gothic, strange, and different, give this film a watch. Grab some buddies and have a creepy and crazy Halloween/Christmas/Wednesday/Whatever.

7/10

Wait, I’m in it?!

10/10

No, I don’t care that it’s only for five seconds!

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