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DRACULA II: ASCENSION
Alright, I admit it -- I spent a chunk of change (damn Blockbuster and their lack of selection!) and bought the flick to see what non-Novak Neal could do (The "bonus feature" of a screentest/audition tape was also a draw). It was a "direct to video/dvd", so I can't say I expected much -- as such I wasn't disappointed ('twas entertaining enough. I'm not a huge horror fan, so many (any?) of the homages were probably lost on me.); it wasn't horrid (that said, it's not horrifying or frightening either: no fear factor here) and its lack of mass-appeal can't be blamed on the cast (for someone with no billing on the front cover, Neal is as close to the star of the film as one gets).

There is much standing around looking worried and a touch distraught... The film itself has a lackluster pulse (for a horror flick, there is very little screaming, running or action), but it bodes well for viewers seeking plenty of eye candy (cinematography was top notch), and Diane Neal looks especially lovely, whether it's splattered in blood or carefully painted with tiny veins. Her character (Elizabeth Blaine) is easy to like and understand; There's a vein of goodness that shines through, even when she's making poor decisions... Ones you know are going to come back to bite her.

As someone cajoled into being a part of a very bad thing in the name of love, Neal does a lot with what little she's actually given to do as Elizabeth (she's in nearly every scene), quietly expressive, infusing plenty of life into limited or non-existent lines and giving the character a soul with very little available info. Of course, I could be reaching -- it might just be the warmth of the actress bleeding through.


DRACULA II: ASCENSION (AUDITION/SCREEN TEST)


A short clip of Diane's screentest is available in WMV format here. (Special thanks to cinnamoons)










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