Netflix’s Castlevania: Fated to be loved by cult films fans

We people tend to say that good things come in small jars. I was inclined to think that was the case with the new Netflix original series based in Castlevania’s games, written by by Warren Ellis and directed by Sam Deats, however, I made the mistake of having high expectations that it didn’t reach.

I prefer to think about this as a segmented movie, as its first season is just four episodes long, and a Netflix binge will last around two hours, minutes more or minutes less, with each of them used incredible human-like, fluent movements for the animation.

However, I have my doubts about the voices.

They didn’t reflect much feelings in certain scenes, as if a massacre was done just because of boredom instead of revenge and hatred or as if their fear was somewhat fake; I actually expected a character to come back due to the lack of credibility of her voice.

The actors had their moments where they seemed to be completely into the series, but there were many others that didn’t make me believe anything they said. Fortunately, the first case is more seen than the second.

However, something that made my mouth reach the ground was the aesthetics that wrapped the whole story. It was completely loyal to many of the original games, keeping the same dark theme and conflicted characters along with a couple Gothic clichés that added even more enchant to the proposal.

Warren Ellis did an amazing work using classic elements from the games, their own mythology and ideas, and adapting them to the small screen needs. They keep the viewers’ attention for the whole episode with little visual gifts here and there and show a more morbid side of the characters in the following scenes.

I’m not a man of action, but I would have loved to see more fighting in this season, maybe just two or three more violent scenes, as they felt somewhat insufficient; note that I didn’t say deficient, just that I expected many more.

People can expect a acceptable dose of blood and spilled guts when watching Castlevania.

The show flirts with the gore genre more than once, and it certainly doesn’t use it to fill a lack of content but as to add  another interesting face of the story. It becomes clear we’re in front of a fearless project.

Ancient curses, fantasy setting, bloody action and a misunderstood hero complete the picture, along with secondary characters that have their very own secrets, although their secrecy is not well hidden for those familiar with the franchise.

Sam Deats made a great work as a director as well for the series. He had a good eye for somber moments, exploiting the potential, trying to make it reach the highest high it could achieve, which, sadly, is not that much for only four episodes, but sets the ground for a promising second season.

I have nothing against Christianity or its church, but Deats certainly made me hate both of them for more than two hours. The way he made the characters look, think and behave was worth a prize as many of them sent chills down my spine; it was even stranger to know that there have been different real life versions of them, which adds a special morbid sense of reality to their scenes.

The really one flaw I found was that Deats decided not to use much music for the series, giving the highlight to natural,organic sounds and effects of walking, talking, punching, and so on. Not the brightest or popular choice, but an interesting one, nonetheless.

Castlevania is fated to be loved by cult films fans and liked for the mainstream, but I honestly don’t expect it to be a great hit, but a precious jewel, only fully appreciated by few people; I shudder at the thought of this series becoming a plastic product.

Alan D.D.
Writer and Journalist.

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