One of the most commercially successful horror films of all time, Francis Ford Coppola's reinterpretation of the legendary vampire story isn't really a horror film at all. Despite a powerful opening sequence, amazing special effects, and a brief scene of a lycanthropic wolf-beast having sex, this version strips away most of the scares and sex in favor of romance. Rather than the powerful, feral sexuality of previous screen Draculas -- Christopher Lee comes to mind -- Gary Oldman's performance hinges on sadness, longing, and the memory of his murdered wife. Those familiar with horror archetypes might even argue that this is a mummy film in vampire's clothing. Critics were quick to praise Coppola for his faithfulness to Bram Stoker's novel, but, in re-creating its detail, he may have missed its essence: the vampire is not a romantic anti-hero, but a dark representation of sexual taboo.
by Robert Firsching review