My History With the Film:
Dracula 2000 flew right under my radar. I don’t recall seeing a single trailer for the movie or hearing anything about it. My introduction to the film came in the form of a VHS screener that was sent to the Blockbuster I worked at. Back in the video store days, the film companies would occasionally send movies out early for employees to watch. This helped educate the employees and encouraged them to recommend the films to customers.
I was working when the screener came in, and after seeing Wes Craven’s name on the front cover, I immediately put my name on it. I went home and watched the movie that night and really enjoyed it. It was a modern take on the old Dracula story that seemed to work well for the time it was released.
What The Film Is About (Non-Spoiler):
A group of thieves unknowingly release Count Dracula, who heads to New Orleans to find the daughter of his arch nemesis Van Helsing.
What I Liked About It:
- The movie oozes with late 90’s cool. It captures the fashion, vibe, and even absurd product placement. Did anyone want to visit a Virgin Records after seeing this?
-Vitamin C can act! So, Vitamin C was a two hit wonder in 1999 whose hit song, The Graduation Song which was a very popular in high schools across the country. Horror films from this era loved to cast hip singers/rappers and this was met with mixed results. Vitamin C is one of the ones that actually worked out well and it’s a shame this role didn’t lead to better opportunities.
-I was shocked a few years ago to see that Dracula was played by the then unknown Gerald Butler. I was pleasantly surprised at how good he was and well he plays the dark, mysterious figure. He was a very effective Dracula, something I couldn’t see him playing in 2017.
-I remember loving the Christian storyline in the film and found it to be a fascinating twist, however, this isn’t nearly as impactful when watching now.
-The casting of this movie was insane. They just cast anyone with any sort of popularity and who was available at the time. You had Jeri Ryan from Star Trek Voyager, the before mentioned Vitamin C, and Danny Masterson from That 70’s Show. The remaining cast Omar Epps, Jennifer Esposito, Christopher Plummer, Nathan Fillion, and Sean Patrick Thomas were all well rounded and fit with in the movie.
-Great late 90’s soundtrack featuring the likes of Disturbed and Linkin Park.
What I Didn’t Like About It:
-Surprisingly, the two actors that just didn’t seem to really fit in this movie were the two leads: Jonny Lee Miller and Justine Waddell. This movie could have used one of those big name TV teen actresses that Dimension Films liked to cast.
-The third act actually bogs the film down. Prior to it, the first two acts come across almost like a Buffy The Vampire Slayer episode without the humor. I think this film works best when Dracula is stalking and not actually around in person.
-The CG is a mixed bag. Some of it is really well done and some of it is not (I’m thinking the scene with Danny Masterson and the smoke on the plane as an example of it not working.)
- I actually forgot that this film was not directed by Wes Craven until my most recent viewing. His name was so heavily advertised that you’ll find this movie on Hulu under the “W”s for Wes Craven Presents: Dracula 2000.
-One of the writers Joel Soisson, wrote Trick or Treat, the 80’s heavy metal horror flick.
-The Weinstein’s bought this film just for its title Dracula 2000.
-Two sequels were made: Dracula 2 and Dracula 3 which were both directed by Dracula 2000 director Patrick Lussier.
-Cast members with roles in other notable horror films:
- Jennifer Esposito (I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, Don’t Say a Word)
- Omar Epps (Scream 2)
- Danny Masterson (The Faculty)
I was a little intimidated going back in to watch Dracula 2000 here in 2017. The film surprised me though; it didn’t come off too hokey and for the most part is a decent flick. I think the Weinstein’s knew they put together a ho-hum film and that’s why they attached Wes Craven’s name to the box, just to try and give it some credibility.
I like the opening scene and the middle of the movie, but I think the biggest flaw of the film is the lead actress Justine Waddell who is just not sympathetic. As she begins to dominate the screen time towards the end of the flick, I feel the movie stops being as effective and ends much weaker than it began.
I think fans of Dracula who don’t mind something a little different will enjoy this flick. Fans of the late 90’s teen horror (although this is very debatable on whether or not it’s a teen horror film) should also find a few things to enjoy. However, as a film, I’d say this is a 5.5 out of 10 and a low priority rental.