Director: Patrick Lussier
Release Date: December 22, 2000
Wes Craven has contributed timeless, spine-tingling movies to the horror genre that have withstood the test of time. Dracula is the perhaps one of the most iconic villains in horror movie history, so naturally the combination of The Master of Suspense and ultimate creature of the night would be a brilliant homage to Bram Stoker and would become the next opus to Craven’s legacy, right? Guess again.
After a temporary prologue in the late 19th century, the movie gets right down to business in contemporary London, introducing Abraham- err… Matthew Van Helsing (Christopher Plummer) as a wealthy antiquities dealer whose grandfather was allegedly the basis for the vampire hunter in Bram Stoker’s tale.
Even as he denies his heritage it’s clear that he is obviously said vampire hunter, more than 100 years old but looking like he’d just turned 70. The secret of his vitality is a sporadic injection of blood from the legendary (in his words “indestructible”) Count Dracula, who remains undisturbed in his vacuum sealed coffin which is hidden in the depths of Van Helsing’s seemingly impregnable vault.
Unfortunately, the vault’s security measures proves no match against a group of tech savvy thieves, led by American criminal Marcus (Omar Epps) and Van Helsing’s traitorous secretary Solina (Jennifer Esposito).
What’s even more unfortunate is that the thieves open up the coffin while fleeing to the Cayman Islands. As the smoke clears, Dracula (Gerard Butler) rises from his slumber and proceeds to feed his insatiable bloodlust and somehow manages to re-route the aircraft into the swamps of New Orleans.
Dracula Searches For Soulmate
From there Dracula dabbles in the Mardi Gras festivities, converts local television reporter Valerie Sharp (Jeri Ryan) to a loyal blood-sucker, and searches for his unlikely soul mate. That soul mate happens to be Mary (Justine Waddell), Van Helsing’s long-estranged daughter who has been suffering from nightmares about that guy from 300 with vampire teeth coming after her. This connection is obviously the result from her tainted bloodline, thanks dad!
Speaking of the doting father, he is racing against time to reach New Orleans with trusty business associate Simon Shepard (Jonny Lee Miller) in tow, explaining the finer points of vampire slaying while they travel.
Around the time that Simon begins to fire silver stakes into vampirized bad guys, and as they disintegrate into the air, so does any semblance of continuity or plot. The convoluted mess carries forward, along the way Mary’s friend Lucy (Colleen Fitzpatrick a.k.a. former pop-singer Vitamin C) joins the dark side, and Nathan Fillion of Slither and Firefly fame makes a cameo. That’s truly about the long and short of it so far as the story goes.
To its credit the film does provide a couple of intriguing aspects to the Dracula mythos, delving into the story of the vampire’s aversion to crosses, holy water, and all things silver. Sadly, the new aspects are not enough to save the movie.
Production Value Dampens Dracula 2000
Christopher Plummer was by far the best acting aspect of the movie, bringing class but botching the Middle European accent frequently. Jeri Ryan and Nathan Fillion were grossly misused and Gerard Butler’s Dracula looked less like the Prince of Darkness and more like a peevish Abercrombie and Fitch model. It was clear that director Patrick Lussier was way in over his head on this one, as production value slowly took a nose-dive as the film progressed.
With Wes Craven tagged as executive producer you would expect some semblance of a horror movie but the movie lacked scares and violence that many would come to expect. What could have been a very original re-imagining of a legendary tale turned out to be a lackluster effort that you are better off passing over.
With sincerest regards to Wes Craven, this movie, in one word: sucked.
1 1/2 out of 5 blood drops
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