Coping with the most famous vampire isn’t easy, but Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat do it with credit. Dismissed in three chapters, this series is very promising. After watching two of the three episodes, we are almost “blood for blood” conquered.
Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat sure love tackling English literary monuments. Having brought the adventures of Sherlock Holmes to the small screen, the writers are now drawn to Bram Stocker’s epistolary novel. If they choose contemporary London to develop their Sherlock 2.0, they must travel to 19th century Transylvania to discover the adventures of Count Dracula.
The three-part series will explore different main plots and promise to make us rediscover the characters, which were widely exploited in theaters. The first chapter immerses us in a Hungarian monastery, where a man tells his story of living in Count Dracula’s castle. Quickly decorating set, the goal of this series is to make us shiver.
If the first minutes were tiring enough, Gatiss and Moffat quickly caught us and bewitched us, like Dracula with his prey. The magic happens, and the two rediscover the rhythms and narrative constructs that made Sherlock’s heyday. By wanting to move away from the classic treatment of beasts in cinema, the two screenwriters manage to get us to the heart of their gory imagination.
Showrunners have mastered the art of surprise and know how to put on suspension, so we’re quickly carried away by the twists and turns that the mini-series has to offer. By having fun with the audience and the characters, this series manages to make us rediscover this myth. But we regret certain passages, which are rather pretexts and which serve no other purpose than to make our blood run cold. At his best, Dracula manages to step away from the novel to offer a new dimension to his character.
Turn on the beast
To play the carnivore count, Gatiss and Moffat summoned Claes Bang. The actor, who was awarded at Cannes for his role in The Square, is brilliant in the skin of the iconic character. While the dialogue is sometimes a little cartoonish, the accuracy of the Danish actors brings the protagonist back on the right path. Terrible, ironic, and intriguing, the Count is sometimes depicted as a bloodthirsty beast, sometimes as a fine strategist. By confronting these two personalities, the author manages to offer Dracula the enemy he deserves. Writing a supporting role was no less successful, especially with the character of a nun. Disrespectful, he embodies the perfect antagonist to vampires, and that’s no doubt because of the cast Dolly Wells. Some scenes are memorable and remind Dracula of trivial things, his unquenchable thirst.
In reality, Netflix and the BBC trust a trio who have proven themselves. Thus, the first episode of “Rules of the Beast” was directed by Jonny Campbell (Westworld), the second by Damon Thomas (Killing Eve) and the third by Paul McGuigan (Sherlock).
A choice that makes sense and that allows the series to take a very different direction for each plot. The second episode contradicts the first and allows for a new approach to vampire mythology. The polished realization, symbolic of the Gatiss and Moffat series, often pays homage to the cinema genre and more specifically to adaptations of Francis Ford Coppola and Terence Fisher. The staging is mastered, especially while exploring the castle in the first episode.
Finally, we must highlight the incredible work of Michael Price and David Arnold in music. This composer duo is not in the first attempt and have captivated our esgourdes with the Sherlock theme and more recently Good Omen for Arnold.
After two episodes, it seems Dracula is a good adaptation of Bram Stocker’s novels. By embracing its gruesome aspects, this series manages to get us excited for the first two chapters. We hope the magic will work well in the final. This miniseries holds promise and could make a worthy Sherlock heir, but you have to watch out for indigestion. Dracula must avoid the traps of horror and haphazard violence to come out with honor.