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The overindulgent blockbuster retelling of a legendary horror story chews on the streaming scenery

Hammier than a Christmas hamper, and just as indulgent.

frankenstein 1994
TriStar Pictures

Hollywood loves nothing more than capitalizing on a bandwagon and striking while the iron is at its hottest, so there weren’t exactly many shocked faces when Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was announced to be in development not too long after Bram Stoker’s Dracula netted $216 million at the box office and won a trio of Academy Awards, especially when Sony was backing both.

On paper, Kenneth Branagh seemed like the ideal candidate to take the reins as both star and director, with the multi-talented actor and filmmaker’s extensive Shakespearean background giving him plenty of experience in dealing with overwrought tragedy and dramatic monologues being spouted by a tortured protagonist pacing back and forth in isolation against a cavernous backdrop.

frankenstein 1994
TriStar Pictures

The casting of Robert De Niro as The Creation was less enthusiastically received, which is fair enough when in spite of the Oscar-nominated makeup and impressive creature design, you can never escape the fact that you’re watching Robert De Niro playing Frankenstein’s monster, which torpedoes the immersion.

It was a decent enough hit after recouping the $45 million budget from theaters two and a half times over, though, but respective Rotten Tomatoes scores of only 42 and 49 percent from critics and audience underlines that it wasn’t a patch on Francis Ford Coppola’s boundlessly horny Dracula. However, that hasn’t stopped the film from doing the monster mash on Netflix this week.

As per FlixPatrol, Frankenstein has been shuffling towards the upper reaches of the platform’s rankings, and it’s a decent watch for those who prefer their Gothic fantasies to be as overblown and hammy as humanly (or inhumanly) possible.

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Scott Campbell

News, reviews, interviews. To paraphrase Keanu Reeves; Words. Lots of words.