a critiQal film review Dracula 2000 (2000)

Plot: Abraham Van Helsing (Plummer) has been hiding a couple of things from his assistant Simon (Miller) in his antiques shop. Abraham is the keeper of Dracula’s (Butler) remains, locked deep below the shop. After a break-in frees Dracula, it’s up to Simon and Abraham to stop him before he finds Abraham’s daughter, Mary (Waddell).

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  • ...a decent update on the classic tale of Dracula

From the master of horror, Wes Craven, comes an entirely updated version of the classic Dracula story. The preview seemed decent and, being a fan of Wes Craven’s other works (A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Scream (1996), etc.), I figured I’d check it out. Not too shabby.

The characters were well done. Christopher Plummer was perfect as Van Helsing. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen it done better (and that includes Anthony Hopkins in the abysmal Bram Stoker’s Dracula). Plummer seemed on the verge of insanity, only loosely hanging onto reality, but doing what he must anyway, regardless of the cost. Jonny Lee Miller, who has seemed to have disappeared since Hackers (1995), plays his part well also.

Gerard Butler as Dracula was a bit of a disappointment, though. Dracula has always been the most evil guy around, but exudes sexuality almost despite this. This was better shown in John Carpenter’s Vampires, and Butler doesn’t match up. He seems to be the 90’s version of Dracula: whiny and sensitive. It’s fine to update Dracula to the present, but why make him part of the touchy-feely generation? It ruins the mystique, and comes off a bit hokey.

The plot was pretty good. The new explanation of Dracula’s origin was a nice touch. It ties in well with the storyline, and does go a long way towards explaining his aversions to certain items. Without that rather strong background story, this film would not have left as good of an impression. The film would have most likely degenerated into just another slash fest (aka Jason X (2002), or something similar).

The special effects are very well done. From the way the vampires’ eyes fill with blood before the attack, to the vampires crawling sideways along a wall, the special effects all look very believable and don’t seem to falter at all. With bigger budgeted films faltering occasionally in the special effects department (certain scenes from Spider-Man (2002) and Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002)), it’s a nice accomplishment for this film to come through with no glaring errors.

With the intriguing twist on an old story, the decent acting, and the good special effects, this is one version of Dracula you’ll want to check out for yourself. Dracula 2000 is definitely one Dracula movie you’ll be able to sink your teeth into.

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