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Dracula 2000 (also known internationally as Dracula 2001) is a 2000 American gothic horror film co-written and directed by Patrick Lussier and produced by Joel Soisson and Wes Craven (executive producer), and starring Gerard Butler, Christopher Plummer, Jonny Lee Miller, Justine Waddell, Omar Epps, Colleen Fitzpatrick, Jeri Ryan and Jennifer Esposito. The plot follows Dracula, who arrives in New Orleans, Louisiana in the 21st century and seeks out Mary Heller, a descendant of Abraham Van Helsing.
|Directed by||Patrick Lussier|
|Screenplay by||Joel Soisson|
Paul Harris Boardman
by Bram Stoker
|Music by||Marco Beltrami|
|Distributed by||Miramax Films|
|Box office||$47.1 million|
Dracula 2000, the promotional title of which is Wes Craven Presents: Dracula 2000, builds upon Bram Stoker's original 1897 novel Dracula, with Count Dracula resurrected in contemporary America. The film was a critical and commercial failure, though two direct-to-video sequels, both written and directed by Lussier, were produced.
Matthew Van Helsing, a descendant of 19th-century Dutch physician Abraham Van Helsing, owns an antique shop built over the site of Carfax Abbey in London in 2000. One night, with Van Helsing upstairs, his secretary, Solina, allows a group of thieves, led by her boyfriend, Marcus, into the shop. The thieves infiltrate the shop's underground high-security vault and find a sealed silver coffin protected by a deadly defense system. Based on the level of security surrounding the coffin, Solina and Marcus decide that the coffin must contain valuable content, so they escape with it and flee to New Orleans. When Van Helsing discovers that the coffin has been stolen, he boards a plane to America, telling his apprentice, Simon Sheppard, to remain in London. Simon, ignoring these instructions, follows his mentor.
Aboard their plane, one of the thieves manages to open the coffin, revealing the dormant body of Count Dracula. Dracula awakens and attacks and turns the thieves and Solina, causing the plane to crash in the Louisiana swamps. Dracula survives the crash, and turns news reporter Valerie Sharpe who is reporting the crash, kills her cameraman and travels to New Orleans, where college students Mary Heller and Lucy Westerman are living. Estranged from her family, Mary has recently been experiencing nightmares of a strange, terrifying man - Dracula.
Van Helsing and Simon arrive in New Orleans and destroy the newly turned vampires left in Dracula's wake, except Solina and Marcus. Afterwards, Van Helsing reveals to Simon that he is in fact the original Abraham Van Helsing, who defeated Dracula in 1897. Because he was unable to destroy Dracula permanently, Van Helsing hid the body and prolonged his own life by regularly injecting Dracula's blood (filtered via leeches) until, one day, he could discover a way to permanently kill Dracula. Simon is intrigued as to why Dracula hates all things Christian and wonders why he is also particularly vulnerable to silver. Van Helsing also tells Simon about his daughter, Mary, whom her mother took from England after the truth about his identity came to light. Since Mary was conceived after Van Helsing began his injections, she shares blood and a telepathic link with Dracula, who senses her existence and is in New Orleans to find her.
Van Helsing and Simon try to reach Mary before Dracula does, but fail to do so before Dracula turns Lucy into a vampire. Dracula and his three new brides, Solina, Lucy, and Valerie, corner Van Helsing and kill him. Simon and Mary escape, only for Dracula to capture them shortly thereafter. On a rooftop, Dracula transforms Mary and proceeds to reveal his true identity: the Apostle Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus for a bribe of thirty pieces of silver. After Jesus was crucified, Judas tried to hang himself in shame, but the rope snapped and God cursed him to live forever as a vampire. Mary finally understands why the legendary vampire is vulnerable to silver and hates Christian iconography. Solina and Lucy appear with Simon, who has killed Valerie earlier with a stake, and Dracula tells Mary to bite him. However, Mary fakes the bite and together she and Simon kill the two remaining brides. An enraged Dracula tries to throw Mary from the rooftop, but Mary wraps some cable from a large crucifix around Dracula's neck and they both fall from the roof. Dracula hangs as he attempted to do two thousand years before, but this time the rope does not break, and he burns in the first sunlight.
Mary survives the fall and is cured of her vampirism by Dracula saying "I release you" before he dies. In the end, she doubts whether the sun has truly killed Dracula. Embracing her heritage as a Van Helsing, she returns Dracula's ashes to the vault beneath Carfax Abbey and vows to watch over them should he ever rise again.
- Gerard Butler as Count Dracula/Judas Iscariot
- Justine Waddell as Mary Heller/Mary Van Helsing
- Jonny Lee Miller as Simon Sheppard
- Christopher Plummer as Matthew/Abraham Van Helsing
- Colleen Ann Fitzpatrick as Lucy Westerman
- Jennifer Esposito as Solina
- Danny Masterson as Nightshade
- Jeri Ryan as Valerie Sharpe
- Lochlyn Munro as Eddie
- Sean Patrick Thomas as Trick
- Omar Epps as Marcus
- Tony Munch as Charlie
- Shane West as J.T.
- Nathan Fillion as Father David
- David J. Francis as Jesus of Nazareth
- Tom Kane as Anchorman
The initial draft was penned by producer Joel Soisson. After Harvey Weinstein purchased the screenplay, he called script doctor Scott Derrickson to tell him he had purchased the script solely on the basis of its title and thought that it "sucked." Derrickson, along with Ehren Kruger and Paul Harris Boardman, heavily rewrote the screenplay, though none are credited in the final film.
Dracula 2000 opened at #7 in its first week at the box office with $8,636,567. In its second week, the film had a 56.5% drop-off, but hung onto the #8 spot. The film grossed $33,022,767 domestically and $14,030,858 overseas for a worldwide total of $47,053,625, failing to make back its $54 million budget. On its initial video release, it grossed an additional $32 million in the US and Canada and continues to make 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 Miramax's December opener for that year, All the Pretty Horses.
The film received generally negative reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes reports a rating of 17% based on 69 reviews, with an average score of 3.59/10. The site's consensus states: "This retelling tries to offer a different spin on the origin of Dracula. Unfortunately, there's nothing here audiences haven't seen before." On Metacritic, the film has a 26 out of 100 rating, based on 14 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". 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." BeyondHollywood.com 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."
Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "C-" score, 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."
The film's rock and metal soundtrack includes Powerman 5000's song "Ultra Mega", Linkin Park's song "One Step Closer", Pantera's song "Avoid the Light", System of a Down's cover of Berlin's "The Metro", Slayer's song "Bloodline" and Disturbed's song "A Welcome Burden". The original score composed by Marco Beltrami was released in 2017 by Varèse Sarabande as part of the label's Little Box Of Horrors limited edition 12-disc set. The score was released separately by the label in July 2020.
Dracula 2000 was followed by two direct-to-video sequels, Ascension in 2003 and Legacy in 2005. Series director Lussier and Joel Soisson, who co-wrote all three films, created a plot for a fourth film and discussed releasing it theatrically, but no film has yet been produced.
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