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The Independent Critic

Daisy Paroczy Hickey, Leanne Johnson, James Tackett, Dashawn Kelly, Chloe Lutz, Holly Anspaugh, Paisley Blackburn, Kim Lea Mays, Amanda Winston
Eric Pascarelli
Mage Lanz, Eric Pascarelli
87 Mins.

 Movie Review: Dracula: The Count's Kin 
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As a Hoosier film critic, it's always particularly satisfying when an Indiana-made film crosses my desk. In this case, I had to pass on the June 16th world premiere of Eric Pascarelli's latest feature film Dracula: The Count's Kin because of surgery earlier this week. However, I got the chance to check out the film in advance of its premiere screening in Indianapolis at downtown Indy's Living Room Theater. 

The vintage-themed Living Room Theater seems like the ideal setting for this world premiere, a genuinely entertaining effort and perhaps Pascarelli's best film to date.It's most assuredly my favorite performance yet from the up-and-coming Leanne Johnson, an up-and-coming Midwestern actress who's always full of surprises and who here goes completely against stereotype as Elizabeth. It's a delicious performance that should see Johnson adding to her ever-growing collection of acting prizes. 

Dracula: The Count's Kin is set a full century after the legendary Dracula's death. His blood sister has now emerged with her own nefarious plans and only a newly minted private detective, Monika (Daisy Paroczy Hickey), as a potential obstacle/ Can this newbie detective with a mysterious past put an end to the horrors that await?

Dracula: The Count's Kin is an  indie delight for sure. This low-budget crime/horror flick is a little bit horrifying, a little bit suspenseful, and even a little bit funny. Daisy Paroczy Hickey gives the film an emotional gravitas as Monika, a woman with a mysterious past who leaves us constantly wondering where she's coming from and where she's going in all of this. It's a dazzling performance that truly impresses. 

As I noted, Leanne Johnson truly impresses as Elizabeth. While Johnson has always been a bold, risk-taking actress, here she's showing us an edgier side of her cinematic presence than we've ever seen and I have to say I'd love to see it again and again. Johnson surrenders to Elizabeth's dark potential and what unfolds is fiercely compelling. It's easily my favorite Johnson performance to date. 

I adored Dashawn Kelley as Colin, though his entire narrative arc is best left undescribed. It's best experienced without expectation. The entire ensemble is strong here with special kudos going to Chloe Lutz's Margaret, the always impressive Holly Anspaugh's Devin, Amanda Winston's Gwen, and a host of others. 

Pascarelli directs from a script he co-wrote with Mage Lanz. They've added engaging freshness to the Dracula canon and this is for sure a film that Dracula fans will want to catch on the indie fest circuit or when the film finally lands a distribution deal - and if there's any justice in the world it will. 

Pascarelli's own lensing for the film impresses throughout the film's 87-minute running time. While it's incredibly hard to create an impressive aura on a low budget, Dracula: The Count's Kin weaves together a a tapestry of mystery and menace. 

I've long said that there's great filmmaking going on in Indiana and Dracula: The Count's Kin is the latest film to prove my point. This bold and fresh Dracula flick was shot entirely in Indiana and will hopefully find the audience it so richly deserves. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic