The made-for-TV, BBC version of Dracula opens with a low-budget scare scene. Fortunately, this is not a harbinger of things to come.

Surprisingly enough, this is a decent rendition of Dracula story, both staying reasonably true to the novel while bringing its story-telling up to date with the times. This Dracula set at the same time* as the original novel and features (more or less) the original characters. The story is elaborated to bring with it some conflict between the protagonists. It borrows broadly from the Draculas the preceded it. For example, the title character takes his look from the Coppola version. As-seen-on-TV addition Alfred Singleton evokes Stephen King’s Richard Straker, a human minder for the night-restricted vampire.

Let’s be clear. This is (for the U.S. audience) a Masterpiece Theater piece and does look it. Those expecting high cinema will probably be disappointed. The changes made in the story will like offend some as well. I, however, won’t complain. This Dracula, while by no means ranking on my list of great films, was worth the time I spent watching it. The understated reinterpretation of the well-worn story was, for me, easy to accept.

*Well, close. It takes place 10 years after the novel was set. 1899.