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Dracula II: Ascension (2003)
Director: Patrick Lussier

review by Noell Wolfgram Evans

Dracula II: Ascension reminded me a lot of my cousin Mike. Although he has some good genes, something along the way went bad and now you secretly hope you don't see him at family dinners. Dracula II: Ascension has good parenting (Wes Craven) and good ideas (starting with a dead Dracula and moving into a revelation that Dracula is not one person, but a way of life passed down through the ages and starting with... Judas Iscariot - how's that for your holy undertones) and yet this sequel to Dracula 2000 never capitalises on this and we are left with an unremarkable film that fails to advance the Dracula legend or show us anything new.

Dracula II: Ascension picks up where Dracula 2000 left off, with no Dracula (thanks to a 'death'). That is quickly remedied as a group of medical students come across his body. Rather than destroy or even explore it they make the logical choice in a movie like this and sell it to the well-financed stranger.

At this point you know that things are headed down the wrong track. Of course as soon as the financier pays the money everything goes bad. It's so obviously foreshadowed and stereotypical that there is no genuine surprise or shock when Dracula comes back and the blood starts to flow.

Rather than make a subtle and suspenseful film playing off of the atmosphere of the story, the science involved, the futuristic suspense and the inherent feeling of dread the director, Patrick Lussier, has chosen to see that we are hit over the head with obvious set-ups, gore and violence. The result is a film that feels overly slick and prepared and one that, in the end, probably does more disservice to the Dracula myth than credit.

Be aware that this film was shot concurrently with Dracula III: Legacy and Ascension's ending dovetails right into Legacy's opening. It works well for the filmmakers and the story but the audience (or what's left of it at this point in the picture) are stuck with a tough decision - cut your losses now or continue the series to the end because of the time you've already invested, plain perseverance or a desire to become a member of the undead yourself.
Dracula II: Ascension

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