10/9/13

DRACULA 2000 - REVIEW


I remember when this movie came out.

The title was so silly that even I, someone who actually likes that type of goofy flick, didn't feel like going to see it. I just didn't see the point of bringing back Dracula as a character and placing him in a modern setting. Why not just make a movie about a new vampire?

Now I'm a little older and wiser, I get it.

I had it all wrong. The question was not "why bring back Dracula?" but "why NOT bring back Dracula?".

And why not indeed!

If the film came out today, I'm sure more people would get behind the idea. I mean, in a time where Abraham Lincoln can be a vampire hunter and Pride & Prejudice can be about zombies and shit, Dracula 2000 would have easily been received a little better than it originally was. Not that the Wes Craven-produced film is all that amazing or perfect, far, very far from it, but if there's one thing it's not: it's boring. I had a lot of fun with this movie. To be honest, the idea of Christopher Plummer as Van Helsing sold me straight away. I really love that they went down the Hammer horror route instead of making Dracula 2000 just some generic, soulless, modern mess. Remember Dracula A.D. 1972? No? Well this is essentially a better version of that movie, except set in the year 2000. It's just as trashy and over-the-top except it's got a bit of a budget and more of a tongue-in-cheek attitude about itself. Plummer is obviously perfect as Helsing and actually kinda makes you wish that they'd done a full Dracula movie set like a hundred years ago with him and Gerard Butler before flashing forward to present day. The plot is pretty convoluted and inconsistent but if you're expecting logic in a film called Dracula 2000, you're not quite in the right frame of mind for it I think. Van Helsing, for some reason, has kept Dracula's body hidden away in Carfax Abbey, behind some big-ass safe with leeches feasting on him, keeping him weak while keeping Helsing alive just in case the vampire breaks out again. I like this part, as random as it is, it's very much a Hammer plot. Some people break into the safe, obviously, and unleash Dracula who proceeds to sink his teeth into all of them (on a plane, no less) and regain his energy.

Dracula's sights soon turn to Van Helsing's daughter Mary, who has some kind of psychic connection with the vampire, for some reason. Mary, by the way, works at Virgin Mergastore and we know this, not only because she wears the T-shirt whenever possible but also because several scenes are shot IN THE STORE ITSELF and the Virgin logo appears like a hundred times throughout the movie! Now, I don't usually care about that product placement crap but it gets to a point in this movie where it's so distracting you can't not laugh at it. It's, in a word, ridiculous. A fight scene even takes place in front of a Virgin Megastore truck (for no reason) which shows the website address and everything, and Dracula himself even gets to call the brand "amazing" and then walk in and hang out in the store itself! It's pretty shameful but hey, it makes for one hell of a drinking game. The cast includes Butler as Dracula: he's fine but I wish they'd picked someone a little older. A Christopher Lee type, to fit in with the Helsing/Hammer thing. Justine Waddell (Mary) and Jonny Lee Miller are both pretty forgettable as the lead "heroes", though the latter's English accent sounds really fake despite the actor being born in London. Jennifer Esposito, Omar Epps and Jeri Ryan (yes, Seven Of Nine) are early Dracula victims and Nathan Fillion cameos as some priest. The film ends with a twist so out-there, so random and so unexpected that, in a weird way, it's actually kinda laughably genius.

Dracula 2000 is exactly what it needed to be: a lot of wacky, Hammer-style, bloody, cartoonish fun. It looks slick, keeps its tongue firmly in its cheek delivering the occasional (intentional and unintentional) lol and corny one-liner and ends up being a nice, silly surprise overall, despite its lack of transparency product placement-wise. I do recommend checking it out (especially if you happen to work at a Virgin Megastore), chances are you'll have a good laugh with/at it.

I did!

Terrific vampiric nonsense.

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