Written and Directed by: Timothy Friend
Starring: Tiffany Shepis, Trent Haaga, and Jennifer Friend
Reviewed by: Brett G.
“You are one crazy bitch. If I ever get me a shithouse rat, I'm gonna name it after you."
Well, here’s a cinematic mash-up I’m guessing no one ever expected. Though the movies have been bringing together odd couples ever since Abbot and Costello met Universal’s stable of monsters, the idea of pairing Bonnie and Clyde with one of horror’s oldest fiends feels especially out of left field. But that’s exactly what we (sort of) get with Bonnie and Clyde vs. Dracula, an independent production from writer/director Timothy Friend.
The film picks up with the outlaw duo on the run and tensions are high between the two infamous lovers; they’re nearly broke and in need of a big job to get back on track. Meanwhile, Dr. Loveless, a man with a degenerative disease, has managed to find the remains of Dracula and has been re-animating him in his basement. As the vampire gains strength, Bonnie and Clyde’s rampage leads them to a chance encounter with the fiend.
It’s not too surprising that this film is as discordant as the match-up suggests. For much of the run-time, you actually feel like they’re watching two separate films, as the narrative bounces back and forth between the two stories before the two come together for the climax. It doesn’t quite mesh as well as you’d like, either, as the film is tonally dissonant too--sometimes it’s played straight, while other moments are downright silly and juvenile. As with any vs. film, you’re really just there to see the big match-up in the main event, so everything else just seems perfunctory.
But even the big showdown in this case is a bit underwhelming; I won’t spoil too much, but I think one can argue that the film barely even delivers its title. Our principal characters all meet, but it’s hardly an epic showdown; in fact, it just sort of happens, and the film moves along to wrap up the two plot threads. The good news is that the involved characters are all adequate; Tiffany Shepis’s Bonnie is sultry and insane, while Trent Haaga’s Clyde is a more subdued counterpart. The two exhibit a solid enough chemistry, but they won’t exactly be mistaken for Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty anytime soon. The film’s unexpected heroine and most memorable character is Jennifer Friend’s Anabel; she’s the sister of the mad scientist who’s resurrecting Dracula. She’s child-like and innocent, which means she’s the only redeemable and likeable character in the whole thing, and I found myself caring more about her than the billed characters.
The film is a solid production; it shows some budgetary constraints in the form of some poor effects work (notably some dodgy CGI and a scene where a guy is riddled with bullet holes, yet no blood is spilled). Obviously, historical accuracy is not a concern, so there’s something oddly anachronistic about the whole thing; there are both Tommy guns and nine millimeters, and all the dialogue sounds modern. I suppose this is yet another case of a film that has its heart and mind in the right place, but the execution isn’t quite all there; perhaps in this case, the match-up involved is so random that the movie can’t help but feel disjointed and uneven.
At the very least, Bonnie and Clyde vs. Dracula does just enough to keep you interested for the climax. There are shootouts and vampire feasts, so fans of each side of the smack down have something to look forward to in this one. If that refers to you, you’ll have your chance to check it out soon enough; Inidcan Productions has taken the film on the road recently for some theatrical screenings, but they’ll be brining it home to DVD on April 26th. The disc will boast some behind-the-scenes features and trailers to supplement the film itself. Bonnie and Clyde vs. Dracula won’t go down as one of the most memorable rumbles in film history, but it’s definitely quirky enough to warrant a quick glance. Rent it!
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