Dracula

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Dracula TV Poster Image
Blood, sex, and plot twists revamp a classic horror tale.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Dracula and Van Helsing -- once sworn enemies -- are working together for a common cause. That said, the common cause is killing people who once wronged them, and achieving their goal calls for large-scale treachery, blackmail, and deceit.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main character, Dracula, is most certainly a villain, although his primary motivation is to get revenge on the people who killed his beloved wife. He's also partnering with Van Helsing, who in the original novel was a hero -- and his principal enemy.

Violence

Death, and blood, are integral to the plot, and when characters die, it's carnal and messy (slitting throats, devouring necks, etc.). There's physical combat, too, involving low-tech weapons like knives, crossbows, and stakes.

Sex

Although sexual acts are simulated and no sensitive parts are shown, some scenes are heavily suggestive with lots of skin that stops just short of nudity.

Language

Light use of gateway words like "hell" and "damn."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Mostly social drinking, although there are minor characters who use hallucinatory drugs.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dracula takes heavy liberties with the plot and characters of the classic novel that inspired it, dialing up the violence and sexual content for modern audiences. That means you'll see plenty of bloody acts (like throat-slitting and flesh-eating), but cutaway shots keep most scenes from getting too gory. You'll also see characters engaged in sexual activity that, while simulated, is strongly suggestive. Characters drink socially, too, and some use hallucinatory drugs, although language is comparatively tame (such as "damn" and "hell").

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What's the story?

Centuries after his beloved wife was murdered at the hands of an exclusive secret organization, DRACULA (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) reappears in Victorian London to get revenge on those who've wronged him with assistance from an unlikely ally: Abraham Van Helsing (Thomas Kretschmann). All the while, the famed vampire courts a striking medical student (Jessica De Gouw) who looks strangely like the lover he lost.

Is it any good?

It feels like vampires have been "the thing" since, well, forever ago. And that's partly why this lavishly styled revamp of Bram Stoker's time-honored tale feels so frustratingly late to the party, even in spite of major change-ups like the rebranding of Dracula and his adversary, Van Helsing, into Victorian-era partners in crime. So pardon the pun...but hasn't this vampire thing already been done to death?

Tired themes of the undead aside, there's still a lot this British-American drama does well (although the convoluted story line involving the count bringing electricity to the masses isn't one of them) -- from knockout sets and costumes to a credibly cast ensemble. Also, in spite of an American accent that sounds a bit like Christian Slater gone cowboy, Rhys Meyers delivers the goods when it comes to animal magnetism, reminiscent of his turn in The Tudors but dialed down for a network audience.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how this version of Dracula compares to the classic Bram Stoker novel that inspired it, particularly when it comes to violence and sexual content. What types of changes were made to the plot and characters, and why? (More importantly, do they work?)

  • How does Dracula compare to other popular television series about vampires and creatures of the night? Does it try to do anything differently? How does it rank among the competition?

  • What's behind the media trend toward the supernatural? What is it about vampires, werewolves, witches, and the like that we find so fascinating?

TV details

Themes & Topics

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