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Dracula II: Ascension

DVD cover
Directed by Patrick Lussier
Produced by W.K. Border
Joel Soisson
Written by Joel Soisson
Patrick Lussier
Starring Jason Scott Lee
Jason London
Craig Sheffer
Stephen Billington
Diane Neal
John Light
Khary Payton
and Roy Schieder
Music by Marco Beltrami
Kevin Kliesch
Cinematography Douglas Milsome
Editing by Lisa Romaniw
Distributed by Dimension Films
Release date(s) June 7, 2003
Running time 85 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $3,200,000 (estimated)
Preceded by Dracula 2000
Followed by Dracula III: Legacy

Dracula II: Ascension is a 2003 horror film, directed by Patrick Lussier. It stars Jason Scott Lee, Stephen Billington, and Diane Neal. The film is the sequel to Dracula 2000. It was released direct-to-video on June 7, 2003. The film marks one of the very few cinematic portrayals of certain aspects of vampire lore, such as a vampire's compulsive need to count mustard seeds and untie knots.

Contents

Plot

The film focuses on a small group of scientists who hope to use Dracula's desiccated — but still alive — body to discover the secret of immortality. Elizabeth Blaine, working at the New Orleans morgue, where Dracula's 'corpse' is brought following the events of Dracula 2000. She pricks her finger on a fang in what is supposed to be a human mouth. This leads her to alert her boyfriend Lowell, who is suffering from an ultimately fatal degenerative sickness. Lowell claims a wealthy investor wants to fund their research into the mysterious corpse (assuming the explanation for its condition is natural rather than having anything to do with God or magic). They spirit the body away.

On their heels is Father Uffizi, seemingly the Vatican's official vampire hunter. He has been given the task of not only killing Dracula, but granting him absolution (the Church realizes that Dracula is in fact Judas Iscariot). This will allow the vampire to rest in peace. What the Cardinal giving Uffizi this task may or may not know is that the priest was scratched by a vampire fang in a previous hunt. Each day he exposes himself to the sun, burning out the vampiric infection while he screams in pain.

But one of the scientific team, Luke (who loves Elizabeth), doubts Dracula is a purely natural phenomenon. He surrounds the now-awake (but severely weakened) vampire with folkloric wards like mustard seeds and knots. Elizabeth, meanwhile, feels increasingly strange as the infection in her grows, as does her attraction/bond to Dracula.

Finally, another member of the team injects himself with Dracula's blood, becomes a vampire and goes out to feed. He kills a woman, making her undead like himself. Uffizi finds and kills them both, then backtracks.

Stephen Billington and Diane Neal in Dracula II: Ascension.

The truth comes out about Lowell. There is no "secret investor." Seeking a cure for his illness, Lowell has used Elizabeth and the others ruthlessly. An injection "cures" him but he survives mere moments before Uffizi arrives. Uffizi tells Elizabeth, now on the verge of becoming a vampire herself, to enter the sunlight. He says it will be agony, but the vampiric part of her will be burned away. Then he goes after a now-free Dracula.

Dracula taunts him with the fact Elizabeth will simply die and Uffizi knows it. In his weakened state, Dracula is not quite a match physically for Uffizi. The priest manages to get a whip around Dracula's neck and begins the rite of absolution. Elizabeth, now a vampire, attacks Uffizi from behind. She leaves with Dracula, who says he is letting the hunter Uffizi live because he knows Uffizi will find him.

Cast

Reception

Critical reaction to Dracula II: Ascension has been mixed to negative. Rebecca Isenberg of Entertainment Weekly said, "Dracula II is dripping with clichéd scare tactics, from abandoned houses to bathtubs filled with blood, [and] death scenes are equally predictable."[1] John Puccio of DVD Town said, "The movie is a tired collection of tired clichés bound together by tired characters in tired roles. By the time the eighty-five minutes of movie are over, you'll be pretty tired, too. Nothing happens that is in the least bit frightening. ... [T]he filmmakers splatter the screen with buckets of blood, severed heads, and gory, close-up autopsies, but while all this may be gross and disgusting, it's not scary."[2]

Patrick Naugle of DVD Verdict said, "In Dracula II: Ascension, co-writer/director Patrick Lussier has crafted an only mediocre sequel that is sub-par in every respect: acting, plot, and special effects. In place of an interesting story is a movie that takes the character of Dracula, binds him to a cross, and keeps him locked up for most of the feature's running time. While the filmmakers' intentions were good, I can't really recommend this sequel to horror fans looking for true cinematic terror."[3] Craig Villinger of Digital Retribution called the film "a disappointing sequel and a disappointing vampire film in general", adding: "Despite the obviously limited budget, Lussier has tried to make a visually impressive feature, and to an extent he succeeds, but ultimately the film is dragged down by an uneventful script, poor performances, and a terrible ending which offers the viewer no closure whatsoever."[4]

Sequels

Dracula II: Ascension was followed by a direct-to-video sequel Dracula III: Legacy in 2005.

References

  1. ^ Isenberg, Rebecca (2003-06-20). "Dracula II: Ascension". Ew.com. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,458372,00.html. Retrieved 2009-07-08.  
  2. ^ Puccio J., John (2003-07-06). "Review of Dracula II: Ascension (Special Edition) on DVD". DVDtown.com. http://www.dvdtown.com/reviews/dvd-dracula-ii-ascension/1631. Retrieved 2009-07-08.  
  3. ^ Naugle, Patrick (2003-07-01). "DVD Verdict Review - Dracula II: Ascension". DVDVerdict.com. http://www.dvdverdict.com/reviews/dracula2.php. Retrieved 2009-07-08.  
  4. ^ Villinger, Craig (2006-07-14). "Dracula II: Ascension". Digitalretribution.com. http://www.digital-retribution.com/reviews/dvd/0452.php. Retrieved 2009-07-08.  

External links

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