In other words, its more than a little dry, and a lot like watching a slideshow. Instead of being a first-class treatment of its undeniably interesting subject, it cant afford standard doc fare like film clips, so it settles for scrolling over movie posters for anything not in the public domain, leaving us with grainy scenes from Nosferatu.
Shot, written and directed by Michael Bayley Hughes, his film
relies on many talking-head narrators. Theres really nothing wrong with that approach, as long as you dont let them ramble, which he does. One unnecessarily showy interviewee wears a top hat and rolls his Rs; the guy is really into the thick of things, reminding one of taking a visitors tour and being at the mercy of its overly enthusiastic guide. Hughes also utilizes a lot of maps and beautiful scenery of Romania or as beautiful as Romania can get.
Viewers will learn something about Stoker and his never out-of-print novel, like how he didnt walk until the age of 7, that he introduced the word undead to a baffled populace, that he reportedly was lazy and may have died of syphilis if euphemisms are to be believed. Yet, the documentary never rises above the quality of a travelogue. Its not an embarrassment; it just has no energy. Rod Lott