Bonnie & Clyde vs. Dracula (2008)

Bonnie and Clyde are out of money and out of luck. A new job is supposed to help change that, which is why they are travelling to a remote rural place to meet with an associate. But when all goes not to plan, they come into contact with the wrong people at the wrong time in the wrong place.

 

The wish to avoid spoilers means that my plot description makes the film’s narrative sound much more straightforward than it really is. Not that the film has a complicated plot (the main plot is in fact very simple), but there is one major, unconnected subplot which, together with too many supporting characters, makes this film convoluted.

 

But first things first: For a B-movie, Bonnie & Clyde vs. Dracula looks really, really good. The practical effects, the sets, the props, and the costumes are all way above average and lead me to believe that there must have been quite some budget behind this production. The very professional look and feel of the film is only marred by a few cheap CG-effects (which I am always inclined to ignore in these low-budget B-movies) and one or two minor continuity errors.

 

The acting is also rather good. The leading couple, Tiffany Shepis and Trent Haaga, are really good as Bonnie and Clyde and have quite a good chemistry together. Shepis also has a very decent screen presence which allows her to help carry the (somewhat slow) film. Good supporting performances by T. Max Graham and Martin F. Glynn are rounding off the Bonnie&Clyde scenes.

The problem lies with the competing story-line, the one which I do not want to spoil, the one that is supposed to provide the film with its supernatural oomph. With one of the main characters hidden behind a mask, the leading role in this major subplot falls to Jennifer Friend as “Annabelle”. Friend has a really interesting face and is probably a good actress. But she is in a thankless role, as Annabelle is not very convincingly written and at times used for forced exposition. Yet, in spite of the forced exposition the entire sub-plot is not very well set up, not explained well enough. Its main shortcoming, however, is that the film’s “Dracula” is woefully underdeveloped and underused. He is possibly not the only character in this film I could say this about, but in his case it really hurts the film. It is called Bonnie & Clyde vs. Dracula, after all, yet Dracula is left by the wayside by writer/director Timothy Friend. In fact, “underdeveloped” and “underused” might both be terms that are too weak to describe what is happening here – maybe “wasted” would be more apt. And with Dracula being wasted in this film, possibly the same could be said about the actor who portrays him, Russell Friend.

 

This “waste” of Dracula not only occurs just in the first two acts while the plot-lines are still separate. The plot-lines meet way too late, and then everything is over in a matter of one or two minutes. This is a film which has been constructed as two competing story-lines that will meet at some point in some grand finale – but then that finale barely happens. This is more than just disappointing, it is ridiculous. Again: this film is called Bonnie & Clyde vs. Dracula. Surely the film’s whole raison d’être is to bring Bonnie&Clyde and Dracula together in one epic showdown. But there is no showdown in this film. At least none that deserves that name. Good writing looks different, and it is a shame that all the film’s solid elements (cast, set, props, effects, etc.) are wasted by a lacklustre and uninspired script.

 

Speaking of the writing. I always find these types of horror plots more satisfying if the outlaws are in one way or another contributing to the creating, freeing, or strengthening of the undead. That does not happen here, everything is merely coincidental. I know that From Dusk Till Dawn, for example, is also based on coincidence, but not everyone is as good a writer as Tarantino and is able to pull this off. And this is another thing that comes to mind when watching this: the film may be a bit too ambitious for its own good. With its noirish-absurd gangster-vampire genre mix, it seems like it is aiming for From Dusk Till Dawn, but does not even manage to reach the level of the mildly disappointing From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money (a film which – at least tonally and in terms of wasted potential – is one Bonnie & Clyde vs. Dracula reminds me of).

 

So, unfortunately, I cannot rate this film much higher than 3 out of 10.

 

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