A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie is not your average run-of-the-mill Dracula flick but a highly sexualized and violent version. It's for mature audiences only because the movie is filled with multiple, graphic images of violent, blood-letting sex. Parents should be very careful in allowing even remotely squeamish teens to watch this film.
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What's the story?
This movie based on Bram Stoker's classic novel, BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA tells the story of the Count's pursuit of Mina (Winona Rider), the reincarnated embodiment of his lost love, Elisabeta whom he lost to suicide while he was off defending the cross in a great battle. Upon the discovery of her death, Dracula (Gary Oldman) rejects the church and vows everlasting life and vengeance. The movie takes place in the nineteenth century beginning in London, where the count lures Jonathan Harker (Keanu Reeves) --the present-day fiancé of his deceased love--to his castle in Transylvania. Through the duration of the film, individuals fall victim to the undead Count and his lascivious minions as wolves, rivers of blood, and overall turmoil set up the ultimate battle between good and evil.
Is it any good?
Like much of Coppola's work, this blood-soaked, highly sexed film walks a fine line between the visually stunning and the bizarre or grotesque (The Godfather, One From the Heart, Apocalypse Now). Tom Waits gives a characteristically out-there performance as the insane bug-eater Renfield, and Keanu Reeves appears to have strayed little from his Bill and Ted days. Anthony Hopkins, Gary Oldman, and Winona Rider give good performances.
Bram Stoker's Dracula has been said to have saved Francis Ford Coppola's American Zoetrope Studios, by recovering from the previous years' underperformers (Wind, The Godfather: Part III). The movie found critical acclaim with Academy Awards for Costume Design, Sound Effects Editing, and Makeup.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about issues regarding religion and the supernatural as both subjects arise throughout the film in unsettling ways. It may be useful to explore their teen's feelings here, even if it is just to make sure they are not too spooked. This may also be a good time to discuss style in horror films. Why does this film feel the same as or different from scary movies set in more commonplace contemporary settings?
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