January 26, 2001

Dracula 2001 (2000)

(AKA Dracula 2000)

It's nine years old now so you've probably seen it anyway, but, as it's now doing the rounds on TV, I thought I'd write this to spare some people who may have missed the DVD release first time around. Also having two different titles may confuse people into thinking there is a sequel but the date change was due to a late release in the UK.

It started off really well...

Plot outline from the IMDb: "A group of thieves break into a chamber expecting to find paintings, but instead they release the count himself, who travels to New Orleans to find his nemesis' daughter, Mary Van Helsing."

There are some slickly shot impalings with blood everywhere and it had the potential to all be very sexy...

But then we see Mary Van Helsing and realise that she truly is no oil painting! Poor Justine Waddell is just not up to the part of playing a leading "heroine". She hasn't really got the acting ability or the looks for it. She really needed longer hair and a bra. Plus she's South African so her fake British accent is annoying to say the least.

Similarly, Jonny Lee Miller is so annoyingly "chippy" that all he needs to do is say, "Cheers Mate!" and he would be the chaviest Mockney ever!

The whole thing feels like two movies in one struggling against each other (a bit like Justine's droopy boobs). I'll try and write my review in that way and see what happens... actually maybe not.

On the one hand, you have yet another Dracula story complete with amusingly rearranged quotes from the novel and even three "bloofer ladies". Then, on the other, you have here an action adventure similar to "Blade" mixed with the "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen".

Time for a change of tense before I end up writing a synopsis.

Nathan Fillion turned up at one point playing a priest which amused me too considering that his most famous horror role so far (outside of "Slither") has been Caleb who dressed as a priest in "Buffy". Talk about being typecast!

Dracula was played quite well but not very scarily by Gerard Butler. In fact, none of it was very scary at all which is a major problem for a "horror" movie! Dracula just isn't frightening anymore. Vampires are so "comic book" now that I think the chances of there ever being a really scary vampire film ever again are quite slim ...so it wasn't all the director's fault!

Incidentally, in spite of the longer title of the film, the director wasn't Wes Craven but Patrick Lussier (who I think is more famous for Canadian TV than movie making).

My favourite vampire in the film was Jennifer Esposito who can bite me anytime! She really did the sexy vampiress thing perfectly so it's no wonder that she's gone on to much better things since.

It's not that this is a bad movie. Far from it. It's entertaining enough to keep you interested all the way to the end, but it's all far from perfect. Characters are not much more than caricatures, and everything zips along at a very quick pace with huge amounts of product placement for the "Virgin Megastore" throughout.

There's also a "surprise" Biblical ending to Dracula's origins slapped incongruously over the top of everything. Dracula, it appears, is really Judas Iscariot doomed to walk the earth for all time as a vampire. Well, that's hardly a new story (since it comes from old folk superstitions anyway), but it has nothing to do with the Bram Stoker novel which made Dracula first and foremost the anti-christ in all but name.

So, the bottom line is that it all tried too hard and failed. I therefore rate it as a 4.5 out of 10. The half mark was for Jennifer Esposito of course.

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