Wes Craven Presents: Dracula 2000

Wes Craven has a knack for taking something horror related and infusing new life into it. So what better to do than have him do a new Dracula movie? Well, the only thing Craven did here is produce. Dracula 2000 uses his name to draw in people. Director Patrick Lussier (Prophecy III) and screenwriter Joel Soisson (Highlander: Endgame) are the ones primary responsible for this new interpretation. Aside from an interesting attempt to explain the origin of Dracula and why he is vulnerable to things like crucifixes and silver, Dracula 2000 is a fairly typical movie for this genre.

The action starts in London but quickly moves to New Orleans during Mardis Gras. This is a great choice. New Orleans is an old city full of gothic looking churches and cemeteries, and New Orleans during Mardis Gras is full of drunken revelers who can serve as easy prey for bloodthirsty vampires. Some criminals broke into Van Helsing's (yes, Van Helsing) vault looking for jewels, but only taking away a metal coffin they cannot open. Van Helsing (Christopher Plummer, The Insider, 12 Monkeys) follows in pursuit, with his assistant Simon (Jonny Lee Miller, Mansfield Park, Plunkett & Macleane) following secretly. In New Orleans, Mary (Justine Waddell, Mansfield Park, Anna Karenina) dreams of a strange man in black pursuing her.

The man in black is Dracula (Gerard Butler, Mrs. Brown, The Cherry Orchard), who is indeed looking for Mary. The story owes much to Bram Stoker, echoing many of the same plot points in the original novel. Dracula quickly assembles his harem consisting of Colleen Ann Fitzpatrick (aka pop singer Vitamin C, Get Over It), Jennifer Esposito (The Bachelor) and Jeri Ryan (UPN's Star Trek: Voyager). These three serve as the sex appeal of the movie and little else. Dracula here really has no character. He floats around and says a couple lines, but otherwise seems pretty anonymous. In fact, he looks a little like Bronson Pinchot (Balki from Perfect Strangers), which does not help things. Omar Epps (Love and Basketball) is also in the movie. Everything people think about black people and their life expectancies in horror movies is true here, but there is a nice twist on it (but not much of one).

Although Soisson's little twist on vampire mythology is a little interesting, everything else is a little mundane. The story moves quickly, but many parts do not make too much sense. Many of the people are the typical stupid horror movie denizens, especially the thieves at the beginning who just love do things alone, and not as a group. The fangs look fairly real, and most of the special effects are decent, except for some scenes of Fitzpatrick and Esposito crawling along the wall. Waddell's head is in the foreground and the camera is tilted to make it look like she is upright and the two are on the wall, but she is clearly lying on the ground. It's also interesting to note that Dracula 2000 may not have as high a profile as it could have had. It is the first casualty in the post-Columbine Hollywood. There are fewer commercials because of voluntary restrictions on programs with large teen audiences, no official web site, no music video tie-ins, and less actor appearances. This will undoubtedly hurt receipts for Dracula 2000, but no more than the film itself.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 39 minutes, Rated R for violence/gore, language, and some sexuality.

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