A band of thieves rob the archives of a notorious collector in Patrick Lussier’s Dracula 2000. The deviants believe they are walking away with a fortune in antiquities, cash, gold, diamonds, and the like, but what they have really scored is the dormant corpse of Dracula. The collector is from the long line of Van Helsing’s that have long been protectors of the innocent and mortal enemies of Dracula. The burglars unintentionally reanimate Dracula’s corpse and the ruthless vampire unleashes hell on New Orleans, whilst looking for a young woman who shares his bloodline.
Upon its initial release, the majority of critics panned Dracula 2000. It was accused of being a shameless rip-off of superior material and not brining anything new or noteworthy to the table. There is merit to the criticism of the film. It has plenty of flaws but if one can look past them, this picture isn’t without merit. There are some really witty one-liners, a few great kill scenes, and some interesting twists.
Patrick Lussier (My Bloody Valentine 3D) co-wrote, directed, and edited Dracula 2000, which updates the Dracula mythology and brings the bloodsucker into the 21st century. Wes Craven serves as an executive producer but I suspect that Craven’s involvement with the film was minimal.
Lussier’s script puts some interesting twists on the Dracula mythology. While he may not be the first person to link the Dracula origins to Judas Iscariot, it is an entertaining spin on the Dracula legend Modernizing the story was a controversial idea but it allowed the film to capture the demographic it was shooting for. The target audience for this film probably wouldn’t have been as prone to see it if it were taking place hundreds of years in the past. Moreover, the modernization made way for some Matrix-esque special effects that may have turned some viewers off but I thought they were a nice addition. It’s rare that we see a mash-up of the action and horror genres and I am usually a fan when it does happen. Films like Blade and End of Days, though not very deep, provide entertainment for fans of both action and horror.
As a director, it’s apparent that Lussier was still finding his footing when he made Dracula 2000. There are some missed opportunities for building atmosphere and the tonality of the film can’t quite find the right balance. There are some good scares, some good action sequences, and some good comedic dialogue; but the picture doesn’t quite excel in any one of those categories and vacillates between them a little too frequently, without ever quite striking the right balance.
There is some bad CGI employed in Dracula 2000. But there are also some nicely done practical effects. The body count is sufficient and there are a surprisingly high number of decapitations, which is always a pleasant turn of events.
Johnny Lee Miller (Dark Shadows) and Justine Waddell (THr3e) have authentic onscreen chemistry that will make most horror fans relate to the both of them. Christopher Plummer (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) is also great as Abraham Van Helsing The other cast members are OK. Vitamin C (Scary Movie 2) is a little out of her element here but she turns in a bearable performance anyway. Gerard Butler also seems out of place as Dracula but he gets the job done well enough.
Overall, Dracula 2000 has its problems; there is no denying that. But it does have some exciting action sequences, brutal death scenes, and good performances from a portion of its cast. This isn’t a title that you need to rush to see but it has enough going for it that it is worth a look when you have some downtime and are in the mood for some mindless entertainment. Dracula 2000 is available on DVD from Dimension Home Video.
Director(s): Patrick Lussier
Writer(s): Patrick Lussier, Joel Soisson
Stars: Johnny Lee Miller, Justine Waddell, Christopher Plummer, Vitamin C
Studio/ Production Co:
Budget: $54 Million
Length: 99 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Vampire Films