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Dracula 2000  

Mary (Justine Waddell)
Dracula (Gerard Butler)
Simon (Jonny Lee Miller)
Abraham Van Helsing (Christopher Plummer)
Solina (Jennifer Esposito)

Directed by Patrick Lussier Written by Joel Soisson
Rated R for violence, gore, language, nudity and some sexuality
Running Time: 105 minutes Distributed by Dimension
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Dracula 2000 is a terrible modern-day film of Bram Stoker’s literary character. The film opens with a group of thieves breaking into the safe of Abraham Van Helsing (Plummer), who is a relative of the famous vampire hunter Van Helsing of Stoker’s novel. Instead of finding money or gold, the thieves find a silver coffin inside the safe. Believing that there is something valuable inside, the crew takes the coffin with them. On their way from London to New Orleans, Dracula arises from a 100 years of confinement in the coffin. Seducing and killing quickly, Dracula discovers the new age world and also his connection with a young woman named Mary (Waddell). However, Dracula also learns that Van Helsing and his assistant, Simon (Miller), have traveled to New Orleans to recapture or kill him.

Dracula 2000 is a horror film that tries to be very flashy and confine, but only ends up being mostly stupid.

Screenwriter Joel Soisson takes some aspects from Bram Stoker’s novel and puts them into this new adaptation. Examples are Dracula’s seducing powers over women, his changing abilities (into a wolf, bats, and mist) and the weapons used to kill vampires. However, the aspects that Soisson brought to the story to supposedly twist or enhance Dracula’s background are different, but by no means are they effective. An example is Dracula’s totally different past and way of becoming a vampire. Overall I found this Dracula version not residing well from script to screen. Soisson wanted to create something new and unique with the classic character, but it doesn’t work. Like most horror films, Soisson gives the vampires (bad guys) super human strength and the hunters (good guys) super human endurance. It was also like Soisson wanted to blend Dracula with the vampires of Anne Rice’s novels (more personality), which ironically most of the film takes place in New Orleans. I wonder why the film wasn’t called Dracula in New Orleans instead of Dracula 2000.

Patrick Lussier directs this horror film typically with a lot of blood and some gore. Lussier tries to give psychological depth to the character of Mary, by creating chaotic dream sequences and hallucinations of Dracula. I found the dream sequences to being overplayed and tried. I do believe Lussier and his location manager should have done some more research in New Orleans. In the film, Dracula arrives in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, and in some scenes the streets are spacely crowded. During Mardi Gras time in New Orleans, all of the streets aren’t just crowded, they are jam-packed. I believe that a good chase scene could have been in store for this film through the jammed street crowds. However, the crowd is only used as small hallucination and some panning shots. Lussier never really captures a moment of vampirism, legacy, fear or New Orleans style throughout his direction in this film.

Gerard Butler seemed one dimensional and dry as the dark vampire Dracula. The actor just wasn’t impressive, he kept repeating his “vampire-teeth” revealing smiles and gestures that tried to reflect confidence. For some unknown reason, Christopher Plummer plays Abraham Van Helsing in this version of Dracula. Plummer does what he can with the role, but Dracula 2000 isn’t a good film to follow up his terrific performance as Mike Wallace in The Insider. Jonny Lee Miller also tries, but doesn’t savor too much with his performance as Simon. However, the worst performances in this film are by the supporting actors of Omar Epps, Jennifer Esposito and Vitamin C. Epps, who has a little role as the head thief, is just gets more annoying as the film goes on. Esposito is very drained and pop star Vitamin C is very lost as two of Dracula’s brides in the film.

I don’t even believe that many horror fans will like this modern day Dracula film. It was just too stupid and unworkable, especially with Soisson changing of the character.

Report Card Grade: D

Beastman’s Movie Reviews
Copyright, 2001 Joseph C. Tucker

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