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Dracula 2000 (2000)
Director: Patrick Lussier

review by Octavio Ramos Jr

Originally titled 'Wes Craven Presents Dracula 2000', the video release, now simply titled Dracula 2000, (aka: Dracula 2001, in UK) was marketed as a completely new retelling of the vampire myth. The film died at the box office, and rightly so, because there is nothing new here. Indeed, it is almost as if screenwriter Joel Soisson and director Patrick Lussier (Prophecy 3) looked at the superficial layer of myths and legends surrounding vampirism and moulded them into what they considered a hip, bold retelling for a next generation of fans. Unfortunately, those of us into the horror genre have been appalled by the end result.
   The story unfolds as a band of hip thieves - a pale comparison to the likes found in Die Hard and Heat - break into an antique dealer's elaborate vault. Inside the underground 'Fort Knox' they find a coffin surrounded by the skulls of vampires, some of which have the classic Nosferatu fangs whereas others have the more traditional vampire teeth. The only female member of the gang, Solina (Jennifer Esposito) believes that great riches must reside within, for she reasons that, "If it's worth locking up, it's worth taking." Of course, inside is Dracula (Gerard Butler), who quickly dispatches the gang and turns Solina into one of the living dead.
   The remainder of the film involves Van Helsing (Christopher Plummer) chasing the vampire. The venerable vampire-hunter has survived 'oceans of time' by infusing his own blood - filtered through leeches - with Dracula's. His daughter, Mary (Justine Waddell), has within her Dracula's blood, and as a result Dracula must win her over (as bride or whatever is never fully explained). Helping Van Helsing is Simon (Jonny Lee Miller), who during the film tries hard to emulate Blade.
   Dracula 2000 is an awful film, and at little more than 90 minutes, it is almost unbearable to watch. The films rips off not only from the aforementioned movies, but also from films such as The Matrix (the fighting scenes) and comic books such as Warren's Vampirella and Marvel's Tomb Of Dracula. The end result is a mishmash of vampire lore so superficial that true horror buffs will be outraged.
   The one germ of an idea behind this film is linking vampirism to Christianity. Here's a spoiler, so don't read on if you have not seen the film: Dracula is really Judas, the apostle who betrayed Christ. His aversion to all things Christian (the cross, holy water, etc.) and silver (the coins he received for his betrayal) is at the core of this theory, and it is an interesting variation. However, the sequences are so poorly handled that even this idea gets buried in the hopeless mire of poor acting, scripting, and directing.
   Dracula 2000 is simply a victim of a horrible trend in Hollywood: making frivolous, trite movies for a young generation they perceive as shallow and stupid. Shame on Wes Craven for selling out and endorsing such crap!
previously published online, VideoVista #30

Related item:
tZ  Foreign Undead: top 10 vampire movies - by Michael McCarty

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