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Dracula 2000

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2000, Dimension films
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The only thing frightening in "Dracula 2000" (IMDb listing) is the title "Dracula 2000." I mean, come on, that's going to date the film in just under a week! It's too bad the title is about as scary as it gets in this inept new horror film "presented" by Wes Craven. Craven's long-time editor Patrick Lussier takes his first bite of directing and we — the audience — learn only one thing: He should go back to editing.

I could go into plot diagnostics, but why bother? "Dracula 2000" is more or less a Cliff's Notes retelling of the Bram Stoker tale updated with "Matrix"-style action sequences (without that all-important technical competency) and the ugly self-referential screenwriting that made the "Scream" movies such an endurance test. Littered with the best and brightest of B-movie actors, "Dracula 2000" is a mess of incoherent symbolism, bad casting, and uproarious placement of product names. For instance, the lead character (Justine Waddell) works at a Virgin Megastore, a place where Dracula himself stops to partake of a Monster Magnet video (this actually needs to be seen to be believed). She also sleeps in her Virgin uniform, making sure the Virgin logo is always carefully framed.

This time out, Dracula is Judas himself, still seething from betraying Christ all those years ago. Some might say that "Dracula 2000" is reinventing the myth of the bloodsucker, yet I feel that by twisting the age old story again, the Dracula myth that Stoker created is all but lost. "Dracula 2000" is a mess of a tale, with actors and their characters coming in and out of the film with alarming irregularity. One can only assume that the movie was filmed patchwork-style around all the cast's television schedules. Lussier tries to polish this turd by tarting up the film with foggy style and loud rock music, but you cannot disguise a small budget and the ludicrous script. They even set this film in New Orleans during Mardi Gras! Yipes. That's a setting that has been strip-mined to dust. Was New York at Christmas taken? L.A. during a sweltering summer?

Half the battle for any Dracula film is perfect casting of the title character himself. He has to be horrifying, alluring, sexual, and alive. Lussier settles for Gerard Butler, the type of guy with a cheesy accent that you and your friends pray won't come over and talk to you at a dance club. He's simply wrong for the role, staggering around in his trenchcoat with his head tilted down and his eyes burning forward. It's a kind of look that suggests mild scoliosis more than eternal menace.

Somehow, even with the wide range of semi-famous actors ("Trainspotting's" Jonny Lee Miller, "Star Trek: Voyager's" Jeri Ryan, "The Wood's" Omar Epps, "That 70's Show's" Danny Masterson, "Spin City's" Jennifer Esposito, acting legend Christopher Plummer, and that lady who taught the world to "put a smile on your face", popstar Vitamin C), "Dracula 2000" somehow manages to focus only on the two new faces in the cast who have little to no personality. Both Justine Waddell and the aforementioned Butler are the real stars of the film, and the weight is more than they can bear. With Lussier giving little help from the filmmaking side, both actors are left out to dry.

"Dracula 2000" is the lump of coal this holiday season. Lazy counter-programming meant to suck your wallet dry. Those going in to see their favorite TV and film stars try on a little genre picture should know this: Danny Masterson is killed right away, Christopher Plummer is acting to pay the bills, and Jeri Ryan has about one paragraph of dialog for the entire film! There, I saved you 8 bucks.

Filmfodder Grade: D-

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