Dracula 2000 (2000)

(On TV, October 2017) I really didn’t expect much from Dracula 2000: Vampire movies are a hit-and-miss proposition even at the best of times, and this one had slipped under my radar back in 2000 even as I was seeing nearly everything else in theatres. More than a decade and a half later, the only thing that looks noteworthy about the movie is a cast that includes Johnny Lee Miller, pre-300 Gerard Butler and Christopher Plummer. The plot is a half-hearted contemporary update to Bram Stoker’s Dracula featuring professional thieves and an unexplainable New Orleans setting. Even looking at bits and pieces of the film are grounds for disappointment, as the film features very dated directing and editing. Still, I had more fun than I expected from this low-profile horror movie: It’s not Blade II, but it’s more enjoyable than Blade III. The contemporary update is almost interesting, the Dracula-as-Judas thing may not be fresh but it’s clever and I think that Dracula 2000 was one of the first movies to popularize it. Justine Waddell (looking a lot like Ashley Judd) isn’t particularly remarkable as the heroine, but Colleen Ann Fitzpatrick, Jennifer Esposito and Jeri Ryan as Dracula’s three brides are a very good choice. Jonny Lee Miller plays close to his Elementary persona (minus the whole genius thing), while Gerard Butler is almost unrecognizable as Dracula. There is, in other words, just enough in Dracula 2000 to surprise, even though the execution of those things may not be good enough to fully satisfy. Nonetheless, the film endures just a bit better than many B-grade movies of the time, and seventeen years later that’s not a bad claim at all.

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