Dracula 2000 (September 24/01)
The Dracula story has been told so many times, one has to wonder if there's even any point in revisiting it. Dracula 2000, while not a great film, at least attempts to inject new (ahem) blood into the story.
Gerard Butler stars as the titular vampire, and as the movie opens, he's tricked into jail cell by his nemesis Van Helsing (Christopher Plummer). Years pass, and now Plummer (who's still alive because of being cut by a knife that had Dracula's blood on it) keeps the immortal vamp trapped in his basement, in an elaborate sarcophagus. His plan to keep him trapped there, though, is foiled when a group of thieves - convinced there's got to be something valuable inside the coffin; otherwise why all the security? - make off with the tomb. And of course, all hell breaks loose after they open it, unleashing Dracula upon a new generation.
There's a twist - regarding Dracula's true identity - that's revealed near the end of the picture, and it's certainly an original one. Too bad the same can't be said about the rest of the movie. First-time director Patrick Lussier has seemingly learned from his mentor, Wes Craven, how to film a horror movie because Dracula 2000 plays like a Scream clone. There's plenty of fake "whew, it was just a cat"-type shocks, without a single scary sequence or image. But since that's par for the course nowadays, it's not surprising nor is it disappointing that this is what Dracula 2000 ultimately winds up being.
Even when Dracula 2000 had just begun filming, the lead role had yet to be cast. Gerard Butler, an unknown Scottish actor, eventually won the part - but is he any good? Yes and no. He's not a bad actor, but as a menacing and creepy figure he scores a zero. This guy is about as frightening as a bad haircut. The rest of the actors fare slightly better, if only because they're not Gerard Butler. As Van Helsing, Plummer (as per usual) brings more depth and integrity to this role than anyone could have expected. The rest of the victims…er…actors are basically interchangeable, as none really receive much screen time before they become lunch.
While not a truly terrible vampire movie like The Forsaken, Dracula 2000 could have been so much more. As it stands, it's a fairly diverting - though not at all scary - horror movie.