Film: Dracula 2000

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Film:

Dracula 2000

Director: Patrick Lussier
Honors:
Genres:
Distributor: Dimension

As a director, Wes Craven has been able to infuse his horror movies with humor and some smart, often genuinely creepy, thrills, even on his lowest-budgeted films. As a producer of horror movies, well, his record has been spotty at best. Craven tapped his longtime editor Patrick Lussier to direct Dracula 2000, and the movie ends up with all the good and bad of “a Wes Craven production.” A modern-day update of the Dracula legend, the script has some genuinely good ideas. Christopher Plummer (The Insider) takes a relatively juicy role as Van Helsing,…

Reviews

Amazon.com

As a director, Wes Craven has been able to infuse his horror movies with humor and some smart, often genuinely creepy, thrills, even on his lowest-budgeted films. As a producer of horror movies, well, his record has been spotty at best. Craven tapped his longtime editor Patrick Lussier to direct Dracula 2000, and the movie ends up with all the good and bad of “a Wes Craven production.” A modern-day update of the Dracula legend, the script has some genuinely good ideas. Christopher Plummer (The Insider) takes a relatively juicy role as Van Helsing, owner of an antiques shop specializing in ancient weapons. He takes exception to how his namesake was portrayed in Bram Stoker’s classic novel, which he’s more than happy to tell his assistant (Jonny Lee Miller, “Sick Boy” from Trainspotting) without telling him the whole story. When Omar Epps leads a band of high-tech criminals to break into Van Helsing’s high security vault (thinking that with so much security there’s got to be something extremely valuable in there), what they end up stealing is the body of Dracula, who of course awakens from his slumber. When the story shifts to New Orleans, where Van Helsing’s estranged daughter is working for the local Virgin Megastore (here metaphor is replaced by product placement), Dracula is drawn to her. The undead start to multiply, and the vampire hunt resumes. Another excellent idea deals with a new origin to Dracula, flashing back to biblical times to explain his aversion to silver and crosses. But there is a downside. Under the inept direction of Lussier the movie is never scary, inspiring instead an occasional feeling of pity for the actors. Overall, this a vampire movie for the mind, not the heart. —Andy Spletzer

Stylish, snappy and entirely without a coherent idea in its head, Dracula 2001 is “Presented by Wes Craven” but shows comparatively little sign of his controlling intelligence. This is very much “Dracula—the Rock Video” with some memorable dream sequences and a lot of product placement: the heroine may not be a virgin but she works at Virgin Records. Among its incidental pleasures are a high-tech bank raid which secures the thieves nothing but an ominous silver coffin, Christopher Plummer as an immortal Van Helsing surviving by injections of leeches that feed on the imprisoned Dracula, Johnny Lee Miller as an unusually obtuse servant of good and Star Trek: Voyager’s Jeri Ryan as a television news reporter turned Bride of Evil. The early scenes make interesting use of London’s Eurostar terminal as a sinister backdrop. The climax moves to New Orleans during Mardi Gras giving the film a frenetic edginess and a lot of partially clad people to look at; it also proves to tie into a moderately inventive reconsideration of Dracula’s origins. —Roz Kaveney

Barnes and Noble

Wes Craven gave horror a gooey facelift with 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street and then self-consciously slashed it to shreds with the late-’90s Scream trilogy. So it’s not unexpected that the horror maven was eager to produce another pass at the vampire legend, Wes Craven Presents: Dracula 2000, if only to provide a bookend to the 1995 Eddie Murphy star vehicle he piloted, Vampire in Brooklyn. Here, he injects fresh blood into Bram Stoker’s classic legend, with his frequent collaborator Patrick Lussier (who edited Vampire in Brooklyn) handling the directing chores. The film introduces a crew of mastermind thieves, led by Omar Epps and Jennifer Esposito, who break into an antiques house and uncover centuries of trouble after unlocking the resting place of Dracula himself (Gerard Butler). Mild-mannered antique dealer Simon (Jonny Lee Miller) ventures to New Orleans to stop the Count before his bloodthirsty tendencies turn the Big Easy into the Vampire Capital. Along for the ride is the great-grandson of the infamously courageous Van Helsing (Christopher Plummer), who enjoys the added incentive of protecting his daughter Mary (Justine Waddell) from the Count’s ravenous advances. As the chase builds, Dracula initiates several mistresses, played with villainous glee by Star Trek: Voyager’s Jeri Ryan and Colleen Fitzpatrick (better known to graduating high-schoolers as pop diva Vitamin C). Though it doesn’t do for the vamp mythos what Scream did for teen-slash tales, Dracula 2000 still has more than enough frightful fun to sink your teeth into. Jason Bergenfeld

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