Dracula 2000 is an earlier film from Patrick Lussier, of My Bloody Valentine 3D/Drive Angry 3D fame. It takes the mythology of Dracula, and attempts to bring it into the new millennium. I’m a fan of Lussier’s films, perhaps even this one to an extent, but it’s definitely not without it’s faults. The story is fairly simple. A young, hip group of criminals, have broken into the secret vault of a wealthy collector in order to make a big score. When they arrive, what they find is a bit more macabre than they expected. Instead of being greeted by gold and diamonds, they find a dingy tomb, and a mysterious casket. Deciding not to leave empty handed, the crew lugs the casket out of the tomb, and drags it onto an airplane in an attempt to unlock the secrets that may lie within. The group won’t be finding riches within the casket, rather the corpse of what appears to be the centuries old legendary vampire, Dracula. Drac has been imprisoned in this casket, but the unwitting group of robbers are about to disrupt his slumber.
If this film suffers from anything, it’s from “left over from the nineties” syndrome. That post-scream curse still looms heavily over this attempted reinvention of the vampire sub-genre. Every cast member is unbelievably attractive – A trend started by Craven’s nineties opus. So much so that it distracts from the movie. The characters are not the only thing exploding with beauty. The overall look of the film is way too polished for the type of film that it is. There is a bit of blood and gore here and there, but the filmmakers clearly wanted to omit the aura of “big budget” production values. Another vampire film that came out around the same time, John Carpenter’s Vampires, takes a decent budget, yet scales back on the glitz and glam, opting for a more worn, and gritty look. Dracula 2000 would have benefited from this technique, as it feels like you’re watching a Rom-Com, rather than a horror film.
The story is interesting enough, if not a bit convoluted. All of the elements of the vampiristic classic are implemented into this re-telling, if you will. Even Van Helsing has been called upon to once again do battle with the gothic legend. Once the main cast has been used as the canon fodder that they are, it’s revealed that one of the characters may or may not be related to the count. The worst part about it though, is the ending. I’m not going to pussy-foot around the issue, if you haven’t seen this film by now, chances are you’re never going to. Or, if you have decided at this point it sounds up your alley, then beware, as spoilers are afoot. The ending of this film has haunted me for a decade. Not because it’s harrowing, or even effective, but because it makes such a bold claim, but doesn’t really connect the dots. If you’re going have such a reveal in the final frame of the film, it’s best have at least hinted at such a thing earlier in the film. I felt as if, in the very final moment of the film, I was told “Oh, by the way. Dracula was actually Judas”, and I was just supposed to accept that, without any kind of explanation. I appreciate trying to do something different with the legend of Dracula, but I felt as if it could have been handled in a much more effective way. A few script re-writes, and this could have been a better experience than it was. To this day, when I become agitated at the ending of the movie, I make a reference to Dracula 2000, and it’s ridiculous claim of a connection between the myth of The Bible, and the myth of Dracula.
Echo Bridge’s Blu Ray of Dracula 2000, is unfortunately a bit disappointing. I appreciate the fact that it can be picked up at a K-Mart bargain bin for under 10 dollars, so it can be excused for not being the perfect release, but there are just too many issues with the disc to recommend paying any more than that. For starters, D2000 comes on a BD25, rather than a BD50. This means, while the video quality is substantially better than the DVD release, the audio leaves much to be desired. Actually, this Blu Ray doesn’t even have a 5.1 audio track, much less lossless audio. Considering the disc also contains no special features, what soever, seriously, not even a theatrical trailer, you would think that they could have at least have used that free space for a 5.1 surround track. Echo Bridge is getting better with their last few releases. They are beginning to add 5.1 sound, though it’s not lossless(someday I hope), and even adding a special feature or two. In the case of Dracula 2000 though, if you already have the DVD, it’s probably wise to just hang on to it. Unless you just really love this movie, and are desperate to see the 1080p video transfer(Which is passable). The picture quality actually does appear to be an upgrade from the DVD. It is full HD, 1080p, though it probably could have used a bit more polishing. It looks noticeably better than the DVD on an upscale player. If you find the disc in a bin for 9 bucks or less, you may as well pick this up if you don’t already own the DVD. If you’re a fan of this film, and wish to own it on the Blu Ray platform, chances are this is the only release that we’re going to see.