director: Jessica M. Thompson; screenwriter: Blair Butler; cinematographer: Autumn Eakin; editor: Tom Elkins; music: Dara Taylor; cast: Nathalie Emmanuel (Evie), Thomas Doherty (Walter), Stephanie Corneliussen (Viktoria), Alana Boden (Lucy), Courtney Taylor (Grace), Hugh Skinner (Oliver), Sean Pertwee (Mr. Fields); Runtime: 105; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: Emile Gladstone; A Sony Pictures Entertainment/Screen Gems; 2022)
“An unimaginative Dracula-inspired horror tale told in a gothic style concerning issues over race and class.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
An unimaginative Dracula-inspired horror tale told in a gothic style concerning issues over race and class, which it does a weak job of exploring. It’s directed without passion by Jessica M. Thompson (“The Light of the Moon”) and written by Blair Butler.
After her mom’s death and having no other relatives, the twenty-something Black American, Evie (Nathalie Emmanuel), an only child and aspiring ceramist, working as a waitress in NYC, finds out she has a cousin she never knew existed from the message she receives from him. The second cousin, a visiting realtor, Oliver Alexander (Hugh Skinner), meets her in the city and informs her she has a number of relatives who are all white Britishers.
Oliver invites her to an all-expense- paid lavish three-day wedding celebration at an English country estate known as New Carfax, hosted by Walter De Ville (Thomas Doherty). She can thereby reunite with her missing family at the manor.
Her best friend Grace (Courtney Taylor) warns her to be wary about this invite.
At the reception Evie, the only Black person there, feels like a target for their racism, as the condescending head butler (Sean Pertwee), mistakes her for staff, while a cranky bridesmaid, Victoria (Stephanie Corneliussen), wants to touch her hair as if she’s a pet.
Evie welcomes the romantic gestures from the handsome but vampire-like Walter.
Sensing the bad occult vibes at the reunion, Evie concludes she’s being played off to be the new “bride of Dracula.”
The horror pic is filled with jump scares, much tedium and trite dialog. At best, it’s a middling vampire film.
REVIEWED ON 9/22/2022 GRADE: C+