Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dracula 2000: a higher power at work

Wes Craven's name has been on a lot of bad movies. I don't blame him for all of them. A guy has to eat, right? Some might consider "Dracula 2000" to be one of those bad movies.

I, however, do not.

Craven was an executive producer for this movie that brought the most filmed monster to the screen again. Gerard Butler ("300," "Phantom of the Opera," "Rocknrolla") plays the title character in all his fiendish glory.

Butler's Dracula is the closest to the Bela Lugosi and Frank Langella versions of the character. He oozes European charm, making his female victims squirm without saying anything. Unlike Lugosi and Langella, this Dracula is not fangless. Butler spills blood and, without going out into the sun, gets a big dose of Vitamin C.

Remember her? Pop sensation Vitamin C, also known as Colleen Fitzpatrick, plays Lucy, friend to protagonist Mary and eventually one of Dracula's requisite three brides. Jennifer Esposito (my wife says she's the worst actress in the movie) and Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine) are the other two brides.

Speaking of my wife, she's not that into horror, but she likes this movie. If memory serves me right, it was one of the first horror movies we agreed to watch together. The twist ending might have something to do with that.

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven't seen "Dracula 2000," you better stop reading.

The best part of the movie, thanks to director Patrick Lussier and credited co-writer Joel Soisson, is the origin of Dracula. Ever wonder why Dracula hates crosses? Or why silver hurts vampires? (Not just for werewolves anymore!)

According to "Dracula 2000," it's because Dracula is Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus Christ to the Romans. Scratch your head all you want, but in the context of the film, it works. Butler is a holy fiend but when he finally meets his end, his expression is one of remorse, if not repentance.

I wouldn't go so far as to call "Dracula 2000" the definitive Dracula movie, but it's worth watching. It lacks the high-mindedness of Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 version but still tries to take the oft-used character into a new place.

Threat level: ORANGE. Trust me on this.

"Dracula 2000" is rated R and available on Netflix Instant Watch. Starring Gerard Butler, Christoper Plummer, Johnny Lee Miller, Justine Waddell and Hyde from "That '70s Show." Directed by Patrick Lussier, written by Lussier and Joel Soisson. 

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