Upon its initial release, the majority of critics panned Dracula 2000. The film 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 that criticism. It has plenty of flaws but if one can look past them, this picture isn’t entirely without merit. There are some really witty one-liners, a few great kill scenes, and some interesting twists. With the film’s 20-year anniversary almost upon us, we thought now would be the perfect time to take a look at the flick with a fresh set of eyes.
In Dracula 2000, a band of thieves robs the archives of a notorious collector. 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 Count Dracula. The collector the thugs have robbed comes from a long line of Van Helsing’s who are sworn protectors of the innocent and mortal enemies of Dracula. The burglars unintentionally reanimate The Count’s corpse and the ruthless vampire unleashes hell on New Orleans, whilst looking for a young woman who shares his bloodline.
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 served 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 character’s origins to Judas Iscariot, it is an entertaining spin on the legend, nonetheless. Modernizing the story was a controversial idea but it allowed the film to capture the demographic to which it was pandering. Moreover, the modernization made way for some Matrix-esque effects that have likely turned some viewers off but I found them to be an interesting addition. It’s rare that we see a mash-up of the action and horror genres and I am usually a fan when such a thing does transpire.
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 flick 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 proper balance.
There is some bad CGI employed in Dracula 2000 that looks even worse today than it did upon its initial release. But there are also some nicely done practical effects. The body count is sufficient and there are a surprisingly high number of decapitations, which I confess, I quite enjoy.
Johnny Lee Miller (Dark Shadows) and Justine Waddell (THr3e) have better onscreen chemistry than I might have expected. And Christopher Plummer (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) is also great as Abraham Van Helsing The other cast members are serviceable. Vitamin C (Scary Movie 2) is a little out of her element here but she turns in a bearable performance nonetheless. Gerard Butler seems out of place as Dracula but once things get going, that’s less noticeable.
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.
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