Dracula 2000

Directed by Patrick Lussier
Starring: Jonny Lee Miller, Justine Waddell, Gerard Butler, Jennifer Esposito, Omar Epps, Jeri Ryan, Colleen "Vitamin C" Fitzpatrick, Christopher Plummer.
MPAA Rating: R for violence/gore, language and some sexuality.

Review by Matt Heffernan <matt@filmhead.com>
December 27, 2000

I suppose I should try to write my review of Dracula 2000 while the year 2000 is still here. This will certainly be the last film to use the trendy appellage of this big, round number. The Internet Movie Database lists over 70 films that have ended with "2000", from the 1912 silent sci-fi In the Year 2000 through all of the tiles I have actually reviewed this year: Fantasia/2000, Godzilla 2000, and so on. The mystique of a past year will fade, just as it had with 1984, which is now more remembered for Reagan than for Orwell. Kubrick will not see 2001 for himself, but his film will see a new light when a restored print is released. So, let's revel in the last gasps of the dying year 2000, and what it has meant to our popular consciousness. Wait a minute -- first I need to review another stupid vampire movie.

It's the year 2000 (still), and Count Dracula is safely hidden in the legend created by Bram Stoker. Or is he? [A loud, repetitive organ sting is heard in the background.] Matthew Van Helsing (Christopher Plummer) runs an antique trading house in London, and his most prized item is carefully guarded in a tomb-like vault. His secretary, Solina (Jennifer Esposito), gets her boyfriend, Marcus (Omar Epps), and a bunch of his friends to steal the treasure they believe to be hidden. All they find is a sealed metal coffin, but they assume the treasure must be inside, so they haul it into a plane bound for America.

Against the advice of his assistant, Simon (Jonny Lee Miller), Van Helsing follows them to America to retrieve what he says is the actual body of Dracula. In fact, he is not the grandson of Dr. Abraham Van Helsing, made famous by Stoker's book, but Abraham himself. He has been injecting himself with Dracula's blood to stay alive, in order to find a way to kill him once and for all.

By the time their plane crashed in Louisiana, Solina and Marcus and all their friends had been attacked and turned into vampires by the revived Dracula (Gerard Butler). Meanwhile, a young British woman in New Orleans named Mary (Justine Waddell) has been having dreams about Dracula. She is actually Van Helsing's daughter, and therefore has some of Dracula's blood in her veins, so the old Count wants her to join the vampire club. However, Simon has also come to New Orleans, and he's not about to let any of this happen.

Complicated enough for you? Simply setting the film in the Big Easy confuses the Dracula myth with Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, which is a bad place to start. However, the film manages to work on a basic vampire movie level, using sweeping visuals and a good dose of sexuality. You get to see dramatic decapitations and stakes getting plunged into hearts -- all that good stuff. It services all the basic conventions of the genre, but what does it add up to?

Not much, I'm afraid. It's really a remake of Hammer Films' Dracula A.D. 1972 with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, which I don't recall having any need to be remade, other than to have our favorite nosferatu going after Gen-Xers instead of hippies. Wes Craven saw a need to produce it, and made sure that Dracula 2000 had a top-quality production, but neglected having a worthwhile screenplay with decent characters. Things might have been better if he had taken more creative control, but instead we have just another forgettable horror flick.

For Gregorian purists, this is the true end of the second millennium, and Dracula 2000 will remain its last horror film. The new millennium will hopefully bring us something more interesting, but we have now lost our chance at making a good Dracula 2000. A good title is a terrible thing to waste.

For more information, go to the Internet Movie Database:
Dracula 2000 (2000)

Here's some merchandise for sale at Amazon.com
Dracula 2000 (2000) -- VHS
Dracula 2000 (2000) -- DVD
Dracula, a novel by Bram Stoker -- Hardcover
Dracula, a novel by Bram Stoker -- Paperback
Dracula, a novel by Bram Stoker -- Audio CD (read by Brian Cox)
Dracula, a novel by Bram Stoker -- Audio Cassette
Dracula 2000: Soundtrack (explicit lyrics) -- Compact Disc
Dracula 2000: Soundtrack (edited) -- Compact Disc

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Review © 2000 Matt Heffernan