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Dracula 2000

Movie poster
Directed by Patrick Lussier
Produced by W.K. Border
Joel Soisson
Wes Craven
Written by Joel Soisson
Patrick Lussier
Starring Jonny Lee Miller
Justine Waddell
Gerard Butler
Jennifer Esposito
Danny Masterson
Jeri Ryan
Lochlyn Munro
Sean Patrick Thomas
with Omar Epps
and Christopher Plummer
Music by Marco Beltrami
Cinematography Peter Pau
Editing by Peter Devaney Flanagan
Patrick Lussier
Distributed by Dimension Films
Release date(s) December 22, 2000
Running time 99 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $28,000,000 (estimated)
Followed by Dracula II: Ascension

Dracula 2000 (also known as Dracula 2001 in some countries[1]) is a 2000 horror film, directed and written by Patrick Lussier. The film stars Gerard Butler, Christopher Plummer, Jonny Lee Miller, Justine Waddell, Colleen Fitzpatrick, Jeri Ryan and Jennifer Esposito.

It attempts to transfer the story of Dracula into the setting of a modern horror film. Promotionially titled Wes Craven Presents: Dracula 2000.[1] It was a critical and commercial disappointment, however, it slightly beat its budget and gained a cult following for its pop culture all-star cast, which resulted in a few direct-to-video sequels.



In early 21st century London, antiques dealer Matthew Van Helsing (Plummer), the alleged descendant of the famed 19th century Dutch medical doctor, Abraham Van Helsing, on whom everyone believed that Irish novelist Abraham "Bram" Stoker had based his character of the same name in his novel Dracula, has a brief conversation with his apprentice, Simon Sheppard (Miller), before heading home. As soon as the shop, Carfax Abbey, has closed, his secretary, Solina (Esposito) lets in a group of thieves. They infiltrate the shop's underground high-security vault, but instead of finding treasure, they find a sealed silver coffin, protected by lethal booby traps. Though some of the thieves are killed, Solina and her boyfriend Marcus (Omar Epps) insist that whatever is in the coffin must be worth stealing, so they escape the vault with it and load it on their getaway plane to New Orleans in the United States.

Discovering the coffin stolen, Van Helsing boards a plane to America, telling Simon to stay behind while he attends to some secret business. Unwilling to accept this, Simon follows his mentor to Louisiana.

Aboard the plane, one of the thieves manages to open the coffin, revealing the dormant body of Count Dracula (Gerard Butler) inside. Dracula awakes and attacks the thieves, causing the plane to crash in the Louisiana swamps. After the authorities investigate the crash site and take away the thieves' bodies, Dracula waits for twilight and then attacks a local newscaster, Valerie Sharpe (Jeri Ryan) and her cameraman (Shane West). He then enters New Orleans, where Mardi Gras is underway, in search of someone.

British college student Mary Heller (Waddell) and her roommate, Lucy Westerman (Fitzpatrick), live in New Orleans. Mary is estranged from her family, and has been telling her priest, Father David (Nathan Fillion), who knew her mother before she died due to illness, that recently she has been dreaming of a strange, terrifying man. Suspecting Father David knows of her mother's secrets and why she is having these dreams, Mary asks him if her mother confessed her secrets involving Mary to him. However, he denied of having any knowledge he may have of her family, but his expression apparently fearful.

Investigating a church where the thieves' bodies have been temporarily brought, Van Helsing is menaced when the "corpses" rise up, now vampires. Van Helsing is ready for them, and kills several, but is almost killed himself before Simon arrives and helps them escape.

As they flee, Van Helsing tells Simon the truth: he is in fact the real Abraham Van Helsing who defeated Dracula in 1897 with the help of other vampire hunters. Unable to destroy the vampire permanently, Van Helsing has kept Dracula's body hidden in London and taken over the vampire's Carfax Abbey estate since then, prolonging his life with regular injections of Dracula's blood — drawn from Dracula's body by leeches (which somehow "filters" the blood and prevents Van Helsing from developing vampirism), and hiding his true identity as his own descendants. Abandoned his medical practices and setting up an antiquity business, Van Helsing uses his business connections to learn more about vampires as well as Dracula's past in the hope to finding a way to truly killing him through his research. His research only led him to learn that Dracula is the first of his kind, and for unknown reasons, hates God, Jesus of Nazareth and anything associated with Christianity, and silver. He also tells Simon of his daughter, Mary, whom he lost after his wife fled England with her after discovering the truth of his past along with his horrific mission against Dracula. Since Mary was conceived after Van Helsing began his injections, she also shares blood (and apparently, a telepathic link) with Dracula, which her parents are painfully aware of her supernatural tie with him. Van Helsing is aware that Dracula senses Mary's existence ever since she was conceived, which is why he is in New Orleans because he is seeking her.

Trying to reach Mary before Dracula does, they are only partly successful: Simon spirits Mary out of her apartment, but not before Dracula has seduced and "turned" Lucy. Van Helsing is cornered in the apartment and killed by Dracula and his three new "brides": Solina, Lucy, and Valerie.

Through Simon and her father's journals, Mary learns of her family's history with Dracula, the reason of her parents' separation, and why she is Dracula's primary target. While hiding from the vampire lord, Mary and Simon began to develop a close friendship after reminiscing of their relationships with Abraham Van Helsing. Before the end of the night, Dracula succeeds in capturing Mary, planning to make her a full vampire. Her first victim is to be Simon.

As Dracula and his brides prepare Mary for her "initiation," Mary observes Dracula and realizes his true identity: he was originally Judas Iscariot, cursed to walk the earth as an immortal for his betrayal of Jesus of Nazareth, being denied admission to both Heaven and Hell.

By faking loyalty to Dracula, Mary is able to distract the vampires for a crucial second, allowing her to free Simon, and together they battle and kill the vampires. During the fight, Mary hangs Dracula from a rooftop with an electrical cable with the cross on top, echoing the means of his earlier death, apparently killing him. Dracula, for some unknown reason, restores Mary of her humanity before he is overwhelmed by sunlight.

Simon and Mary return to London with Dracula's corpse, once again held beneath Carfax Abbey. Having learned the truth about her origins, Mary proudly accepts her identity as Abraham Van Helsing's daughter and embraces her family name. With Simon, she vows to continue her father's noble mission of protecting the world from Dracula's legacy of evil.

References to classic vampire lore

Although Dracula and Van Helsing are the only characters from the original novel by Bram Stoker, the film can be considered a revamp, or a tribute, to the novel, as there are several similarities of plot and character:

  • Dracula arrives in Louisiana aboard a plane that crashes, in a similar manner to the way he arrives in Whitby aboard an abandoned ship; the plane's pilot is found lashed to the yoke, similar to the helmsman of the ship, whose body was found lashed to the ship's wheel.
  • One of the doctors examining Solina is named Dr. Seward.
  • Lucy Westerman is modeled on Lucy Westenra.
  • Van Helsing's antiques house is named Carfax Abbey, the name of Dracula's base in England in the novel.
  • Solina, Lucy, and Valerie act as modern-day analogues to Dracula's three brides.
  • During the Mardi Gras parade, there is a giant mask of Bela Lugosi's version of Dracula.
  • When Lucy offers to get Dracula coffee, he says "I don't drink... coffee."
  • Vampires are harmed by Christian icons and consecrated objects.



The film was produced by Dimension Films and Neo Art & Logic. Veteran horror film director Wes Craven was executive producer, and his long time editor Patrick Lussier directed the film. Joel Soisson is credited with the screenplay, with the story by Soisson and Lussier. However, the film went through numerous uncredited rewrites by Scott Derrickson, Paul Harris Boardman and Ehren Krueger.[citation needed] Wes Craven and Laeta Kalogridis also polished certain scenes during post-production. The film was noteworthy in the year of its release for the highly accelerated schedule under which it was made. Production commenced on June 21, 2000 with an unfinished script. Its executive producer Wes Craven commented in Entertainment Weekly on how he felt the accelerated schedule had affected the making of the film. Principal photography finished at the beginning of September 2000, with additional photography commencing till the last week of October 2000. The film continued to be rewritten throughout production and post-production with the final rewritten scenes being shot late in November 2000. The film was released on December 22, 2000.

Box office and reception

Dracula 2000 opened at #7 in its first week at the box office with $8.6 million. In its second week, the film had a 56.5% drop-off, staying at #8. The film grossed $33 million domestically and $14 million in foreign countries making a total of $47 million worldwide, exceeding its $28 million budget. On its initial video release it grossed an additional $32 million in the US and Canada and is still making money worldwide. Dracula 2000 was the sixth highest grossing film for Miramax/Dimension Films in 2000, exceeding the box office takes of such expensive Dimension Films releases like Reindeer Games and Impostor as well as the Miramax Film December opener for that year, All the Pretty Horses.[2]

Critically, Dracula 2000 has earned a rating of 15% on Rotten Tomatoes[3] and 26 out of a 100 on Metacritic, with a 6.5 out of 10 user rating on the latter site.[4] Berge Garabedian of JoBlo offered a positive review, calling it "A fun vampire movie", "a novel adaptation of an old time legend", and "[good] for pretty much anyone looking for some enjoyable bloody fun."[5] wrote, "Dracula 2000 is not the worst vampire movie I've seen, but it's definitely not the best either. There are some very good moments, most of them featuring the frail Van Helsing as he attempts to battle the fast and deadly vampires. Also, I appreciated the background given to Dracula's aversion to silver, crosses, and God, as well as Dracula's 'true' origins. Not bad work, but it could have been much better."[6]

Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "C-" score,[7] while James Berardinelli of ReelViews panned the film, writing: "Of all the indignities to have been visited upon Dracula during the past century (including being the "inspiration" for a cereal and a Sesame Street character, and being lampooned by Mel Brooks), none is more unsettling than what has happened to the world's most famous vampire in Dracula 2000."[8]


The film's rock soundtrack (referring to the songs used in the film, not just the CD compilation of those songs) is significant for two reasons: the first being that it included the song "One Step Closer," as performed by Linkin Park, before it was released as a single and subsequently became a hit, and the second being that it included a pre-Toxicity (and, by the same measure, pre-mainstream popularity) System of a Down's cover of Berlin's "The Metro" and Disturbed's song "A Welcome Burden".


Dracula 2000 was followed by two direct-to-video sequels, Dracula II: Ascension in 2003 and Dracula III: Legacy in 2005. Patrick Lussier and Joel Soisson, who directed and wrote all three films, respectively, created a plot for a fourth film and discussed releasing it theatrically, but no film has yet been produced.[9]


External links

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