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Click above to purchase "Dracula 2000" at amazon.com

 

Dracula 2000

review by Ren C.

 

 

Rated R

Studio: Disney

Running Time: 99 minutes

Starring Christopher Plummer, Gerard Butler, Justine Waddell

Written by Joel Soisson and Patrick Lussier

Directed by Patrick Lussier

Retail Price: $29.99

Features: Commentary, Behind the Scenes Featurette, Deleted Scenes, Storyboards, Trailers

Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Surround, English Closed Cpations, English Captions, Spanish Subtitles, Chapter Search

There is nothing that I enjoy more than a good bad horror movie. This can be defined as one of those movies that is out-and-out bad, but understands this, and almost goes over the top with it. Sadly, Dracula 2000 is not a good bad horror movie, or the rarer breed, an overall good horror movie. Dracula 2000 is a very bad horror movie.

While the idea of updating Dracula in and of itself is a fairly good one, the way that the filmmakers went about it in this movie was just mind-numbingly awful. The plot, such as it is, opens in Europe, in the office of Van Helsing (Christopher Plummer), and his associate Simon (Jonny Lee Miller), antiques dealers. This opening scene is really only introduced in order to establish Van Helsing's intrigue with vampire related items. From here, we go into the lower levels of the same building, where a massive vault is infiltrated by a band of thieves. I should mention that included in these thieves are several recognizable actors including Omar Epps (Love & Basketball), Lochlyn Munro (Dead Man On Campus), Sean Patrick Thomas (Save The Last Dance), and Danny Masterston (That 70's Show). The movie further annoys me by having these talented actors in the movie and then completely wasting them. Cutting to the chase, the thieves find nothing of monetary interest in the vault, so they decide that their best bet is to steal the silver coffin inside and see what it contains. If you can't figure out what happens from here, don't worry, the movie beats you over the head with it soon enough.

We then cut to New Orleans, where Mary (Justine Waddell), is being tortured with nightmares of a man that she can't quite see. Mary, who works at Virgin Records (subtle symbolism at its finest), discusses this with her roommate Lisa (Colleen Fitzpatrick, better known to music fans as Vitamin C), who tells her that she just needs a man. However, unbeknownst to Mary, her life is going to take unexpected turns that involve the man in her dreams, Van Helsing and more than a few vampires.

If this description of the plot sounds a little airy and full of holes, then I think I've captured the spirit of the movie perfectly. It is very hard to believe that Wes Craven would allow his name to be put on this, as it misses all of the suspense that Craven is known for. Even at its highest points, the movie doesn't stay with any one scene long enough to allow suspense to build. It is disappointing to see such a talented group of actors assembled, and then essentially allowed to drift through a B-level horror movie gone wrong. The movie desperately attempts to attain that type of clever in-joke filled cleverness that was the hallmark of the initial Scream, but at its best, this movie doesn't reach up to the level attained by any of the other films in this genre.

While the film was nothing to remember, the transfer definitely was. The film was released only last year, so a decent transfer should be expected, but the movie looks fantastic. Being a horror movie, there are lots of reds and flesh tones, and they all look realistic, bright and vibrant. Again, because it is a horror movie, there is a lot of darkness throughout the movie as well, which tends to be deep and rich.

The disc also shines in this area, using the Dolby Digital soundtrack to its fullest extent. Effects sound like they are coming from every corner of the room, and the soundtrack, which plays a fairly influential part of the film, is present without ever being overwhelming. The dialogue, for those who actually would want to hear it, is never overshadowed by the other action taking place on the screen.

 

While not labeled a "Special Edition", this disc has more than enough features to qualify is one. We start with the commentary by director Patrick Lussier and screenwriter Joel Soisson. This is a surprisingly entertaining commentary with both men being very talkative and willing to discuss details of what was shot where, the actors, how the script progressed and a number of other things. I would even go so far as to say that watching the movie with the commentary was more entertaining than watching it without. I also found it interesting that the commentary and each of the deleted and extended scenes was prefaced with a disclaimer that basically said "Don't blame Buena Vista for anything you're about to hear." Bizarre.

Next is a series of three extended scenes, with optional commentary by Lussier. These scenes, which last for around seven minutes, really wouldn't have added anything to the movie, except for furthering the already shaky plot. Also included are four deleted scenes with optional commentary by Lussier and Soisson. Again, none of these scenes were particularly memorable, except for the original opening, which would have given the viewer a little more insight into the plot from the very beginning.

An approximately eight minute behind-the-scenes featurette is next, and is promotional, promotional, promotional. This taught me absolutely nothing new about the movie, and had I seen it beforehand, probably wouldn't have wanted to see the movie any more. Brief interviews with cast and crew are interspersed with film clips in the traditional "go see the movie" featurette.

Audition tapes are also included which is a nice touch, even if they do look like the local high school audio-visual club filmed them. Auditions by Gerard Butler (Dracula), Justine Waddell (Mary), and Colleen Fitzpatrick (Lisa) are included, and each looks like they were right from their role from the very beginning. Take that statement however you wish.

Eight sets of storyboards are next for scenes that were either completed or not filmed for the movie. Traditional storyboards here-press the arrow, see the pictures. It takes a particularly enthralling set of storyboards to keep me interested, and these, suffice to say, or not that.

We wrap up the disc with the theatrical trailer that made me wonder why I wanted to see this movie in the first place, because it is not particularly impressive. Also included are "sneak peeks" for other things that coincidentally happen to be available. Included in this section are previews of: The Crow DVD Box Set, Scream Collection DVD Box Set, From Dusk Till Dawn DVD Box Set, Reindeer Games, The Faculty, Immortality, Double Take and the Dracula 2000 CD Soundtrack. Okay, deep breath. While some people might dismiss these as useless commercials, I always think that it is nice to have them included.

I'm split on this one. If the movie had been anywhere near decent, I would have no problem giving this a high recommendation. As it is, despite the stellar video, audio, and the fact that the disc is loaded with special features, my recommendation is as follows: Do not see this ever, for any reason, unless you have some particularly masochistic need to torture yourself.

(1/5 - I'm being generous. NOT included in final score)

(4/5)

(4/5)

(4/5)

(4/5, NOT an average and keep in mind that the actual film is not reflected in this grade. )

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