So instead of Jonathan Harker taking the visit to the Count’s castle, we have estate agent assistant Mina Murray (Holt) who takes the trip. She’s also started a Web Journal - or Vlog - like all the hip kids do now, apparently. We’re introduced to her roommate Lucy (Soulsby), boyfriend John (Dryden) and medical student friend Jack (Hargreaves) just as Mina is preparing to take some documents to Romania. What could possibly go wrong?
The approach of the web journal format actually makes complete sense; the book, after all, is a series of correspondence and diary entries. Flipping the gender roles also opens the story up to being a little more excitable. Both Mina and Lucy are typical ‘modern’ girls, while both John and Jack are rather straight-laced and timid in comparison. The first few episodes are light and breezy chatter, much like you’d see on some other YouTube channels, but when Mina reaches Romania and has to stay in the Count’s guest room as the weather has blocked the roads, things begin to get very intense.
Moran and his team have gone all-out with the production to make it as immersive as possible, with individual Twitter handles for all the characters (do follow them all for extra interactions that feed the story) and web pages ready for exploring. The cast are all very likable, and Rosie Holt, in particular, is a bubbly and engaging lead.
It’s an interesting way to give the dusty old text a modern twist and certainly a fun use of the web series format. With the story beginning to really kick in, now’s the perfect time to catch up with what could be the hippest retelling of Stoker’s novel yet. The first season runs until November 2nd.
MINA MURRAY’S JOURNAL / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: JAMES MORAN / STARRING: ROSIE HOLT, KATE SOULSBY, LIAM DRYDEN, MATT HARGREAVES / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW