Hey gang, Valkor here. And we're gonna alleviate the atmosphere a bit after my review of "Curse of Chucky", dipping into AniView for some lighthearted frights. This next film, Dear Dracula, is CG animated, has a rock solid cast and it's the perfect treat for the big and the little tricksters this Halloween.
The story of Dear Dracula puts the focus on a young boy named Sam (Nathan Gamble), who all he really wants is a toy Dracula action figure. But his Gram (Marion Ross) reminds him that Christmas is a few months away and maybe Santa will bring him one. But Sam, wanting that toy right stat now decides that since it's Halloween, he'll write to the real Dracula in hopes of getting his doll… er action figure sooner. Rather than sending him a toy, the real Dracula (Ray Liotta) arrives with his henchman Mirroe (Emilio Estevez) in tow. Sam and Drac become instant friends, though Dracula would have liked it if Sam were scared of him just a little. But the two learn from one another – Sam teaches Dracula on how to be scary (because Vampires aren't as scary as they used to be), and Dracula teaches Sam some confidence, in order to become friends his neighbor Emma (Ariel Winter).
Other than having the two main characters overcoming their weaknesses, Dear Dracula also points a finger at modern day horror films and monsters. Dracula isn't a fan of the new stuff and deems it not scary at all. He also points a finger at Twilight and how "real Vampires don't sparkle in the sunlight". By the end of the film, he proves that even classic horror movie monsters can scare just as big as the newer characters… with a little help from Sam of course. It also takes a look at how far off course Halloween has become, being more about dressing up in funny costumes than giving the kids the frights.
The film offers up some pretty big names from the big and small screen. And with a runtime of only 45 minutes, is Dear Dracula really worth your hard earned cash?
The answer: Yes. Dear Dracula is a charming, heartwarming and very entertaining film, with a plot that's very easy for the young ones to digest with enough going on, plus the heavy dialogue that can hold an adult's attention. What really sells it, and this would be the major reason you'd wanna check out this film, is hearing Ray Liotta ham it up as Dracula. This may be a film on the cheap, but Liotta gives top knotch performance; you can tell he was having a blast with the character and I get a kick out of the sound he makes when he's disgusted or annoyed by something. Emilio Estevez comes in at a strong second with his igorish Mirroe, and really plays well against Liotta's Drac. The remaining cast also does a fine job with some nice cameo appearances by Matthew Lilliard, Tara Strong and Troy Baker tossed in for good measure. In the end, Dear Dracula makes for a great addition in the Halloween film rotation, especially in a mix crowd of young and old.
The animation is old school and a bit stiff. I'm not truly hating on it because it works, but given the quality of even low end CG films, this one ranks in at the lowest. It's not horrible and thankfully the story is strong enough to carry you past the cheap CG.
Dear Dracula is available now and it's a pretty solid, short and fun film that's perfect for the season of fright, without being too scary for the little ones. I enjoyed every minute of the film and I think you will too. And out of TOV 5 stars, I give Dear Dracula a 3.5.