Dracula 2001
aka Dracula 2000

dir Patrick Lussier
scr Joel Soisson
with Jonny Lee Miller, Christopher Plummer, Justine Waddell, Gerard Butler, Jennifer Esposito, Omar Epps, Jeri Ryan, Colleen Anne Fitzpatrick, Danny Masterson, Sean Patrick Thomas, Lochlyn Munro, Nathan Fillion
release US 22.Dec.00; UK 15.Jun.01
Dimension 00/US 1h39 2 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E

ancient evil is on the loose Just what we need: another Dracula movie! At least this one has a vaguely unique point of view, even if what was probably a much more dramatic script has been turned into a high-gloss slasher flick. In a nutshell, a gang of thieves (including Esposito, Epps, Masterson, Thomas and Munro) infiltrates a London antiques establishment run by the creepy Van Helsing (Plummer), descendant of the original vampire hunter, and his assistant Simon (Miller). But instead of riches, the thieves unleash the original Dracula (Butler), who bites them all then, with his newly fanged little army, heads straight for New Orleans where Mardi Gras is in full swing (how convenient for hiding vampires in crowded streets!) and a young woman named Mary (Waddell) works in the local Virgin Megastore (hint hint). The requisite shocking revelations and big showdowns follow.

The film's one clever conceit is to unravel the vampire mythology all the way back to the crucifixion. And there are some intriguing things going on in the story, but they're pretty much blown off the screen by all the big action set pieces, decapitations and rivers of blood. So we have two sides to this film: the guilty pleasure of a gleefully gruesome vampire romp and the much more serious religious story underneath. The gore wins out in the end, as church icons combine with the plot's grisly elements in a fiery (is there any other kind?) finale. The actors are all better than the material; the dialog and situations are so silly they frequently get us giggling. In the end, despite the attempt to underpin the story with some substance, this is basically just another daft, loud horror movie.
themes, violence, language cert 15 5.Apr.01

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2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall