Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Month of Terror: Dracula 2000 (2000)

Amazing, a movie that actually manages to screw up the Dracula story even more than the 1991 version with that ridiculous Gary Oldman costume. I didn’t even think that was possible. Yes, Dracula 2000, brought to you by the genius minds that brought you sequels to White Noise, Pulse, Children of the Corn and Hollow Man, is another gem of a movie that you just can’t describe in a short review…so I made a really long one again, happy?

Director: Patrick Lussier
Starring: Gerard Butler, Jonny Lee Miller, Justine Waddell

"Don't ever fuck with an antiques dealer!"
-Jordan Chase

Our movie begins quite beautifully with scenes of London in the 1800s, with a bunch of dead people on a ship. I’d say these scenes had a point, but really I just think the director wanted to take a vacation to London, as we flash forward unceremoniously to the present day, without any kind of transition. Then we see Christopher Plummer and Jordan Chase from Dexter talking about some stuff in a room. Chase proceeds to flirt with the token attractive woman in this unnamed and vague company, who turns him down like a bad grade on a math test. Burned, Chase! Burned!

Then we see that this attractive woman is actually a part of some gang of robbers planning to break in and steal stuff. They find a secret passageway, a dungeon full of skulls and smoke and a big coffin, and, being idiots of the highest order, think that Plummer decorated the place like that to scare off thieves:

Looks like a rejected Buffy the Vampire Slayer set.

Come to think of it, why did Plummer decorate the secret passageway like that anyway? He’s clearly keeping the Dracula-coffin down there to keep it safe, so what’s the logic in decorating the place like a cheap haunted house? Why go through the trouble of putting up all those skulls and everything when he could have just put it in a room and locked the door? Not like anyone would see it if he was just using it to keep the thing in. I guess he’s just got a flair for the most ridiculous and over the top drama.

So yeah, the robbers activate a bunch of traps that were rejected from Indiana Jones 17 and a couple of them get killed off and impaled on stuff, which shocks the surviving robbers about as much as getting a letter in the mail. They just kind of shrug it off, take the coffin and go. This gets Plummer and Jordan Chase mad, as you can clearly tell by the way they scream every other line as if they’re in a terrible soap opera. Because that makes it dramatic! About as dramatic as a bunch of kids fighting on a schoolyard anyway…

We also get introduced to Mary, who has dreams apparently directed by Rob Zombie, although I would also accept ‘dreams directed by Tim Burton’ if you please:

Stop tormenting me, strobe lights and quick cuts!

She lives with her friend Lucy, they talk about boys (because that’s all girls ever do when they’re alone, you know), and that’s pretty much it. BACK TO THE ROBBERS!

They’re on a plane transporting the coffin back to wherever the hell they came from, and they all pick on this one guy for no reason except that he’s white and has a dorky Jew-fro style haircut that just begs to be made fun of. He opens the coffin after whining and complaining to himself, and is suddenly engulfed in a cloud of pot-smoke that I think was used by the writers to create the script!

Look at that hair; it's practically its own meme.

Actually it’s Dracula, played by Gerard Butler. He then proceeds to hide and wait for more idiots to come out. Which they do, leading to several long, drawn out minutes of those terrible ‘stop kidding around man!’ scenes you get in every terrible horror movie. Joy. But then using his incredible 'appearing ominously in doorways' power (which is pretty much all he does throughout this movie), Dracula turns everyone into vampires and crashes the plane.

But the wonders don’t end there, as then we get one of the strangest hallucination scenes ever as Dracula and Mary see each other through the door of the plane somehow? But one side of the door is the cockpit of the plane, and the other side is her room…and then he goes into her room, and attacks her until Lucy walks through him like a ghost? It’s hard to describe, but that’s because it’s just visually confusing as hell! I get what they were going for, but seriously, what kind of insane brain-cobble produced this anyway?

Well, I guess David Lynch was called on set to direct a scene after all...

After that, we get the BEST NEWSCASTER EVER as she wears a skimpy dress and talks incredibly dramatically about the robbers’ plane, which crashed in a lake. I mean really, saying things like ‘this is a lake of death and doom today’ is just silly. And I love how the camera-man is drooling over her the whole damn time. “I’m just recording this for my own jerk-off sessions later tonight, thanks!” But then Dracula just kills them, although even THAT is rendered incredibly silly by the fact that you see it through the camera so you can’t actually see him doing it:

"And tonight on National Enquirer News, we have a newscaster who they probably picked up from a brothel down on the bad side of town..." 
"...and flying men propelled by their own farts (that are actually vampires killing them; but that's just a conspiracy theory)!"

So then we get some exposition from Plummer on why Dracula is so evil: he hates Christianity. Yup, that’s it; just like any common acne-ridden 14 year old internet troll! Dracula’s just angsty! Oh, and apparently Christopher Plummer is actually the real Van Helsing, who kept himself alive by injecting himself with Dracula’s blood over the years just to make sure he doesn’t get out of his prison. And while doing THAT, he apparently also had time to father a daughter! And that daughter was Mary! See? It all makes sense now…except it really, really doesn’t. Let’s take a closer look at this ridiculous subplot:

First of all, how did he know that Dracula’s blood would give him any kind of special powers anyway? He’s counting on them to let him live forever, but how can he possibly tell that would work without some kind of problem occurring? Second of all, how did he know he wouldn’t run out sometime in the 100 years since he killed Dracula? What would’ve happened if he came in one day and tried to drain the blood but found out there wasn’t enough? “Whoops, my bad! Guess I should have just left it to my descendants or something, like any other sane person would have!” Third of all, he really had time to father a daughter? So much for devotion to the cause. You’d THINK a guy smart enough to figure out a way to live forever would be smart enough NOT to have sex with someone with that demonic blood in his veins! But I guess stupidity is necessary to move the plot forward!

Also I really like the Michael Jackson dance moves the hot vampire chick does in the science lab where she’s being held:

You could have at least put in "Thriller" or "Smooth Criminal" at this point...might have made the movie better...

And then we get another fight scene with some of Dracula’s goons, full of Matrix-style wire-jumping, terrible one-liners and implausible set-ups…and where are they supposed to be, anyway? Could they just not afford a real morgue, and so they had to film in a high school auditorium-slash-gymnasium?

After that, we see Dracula approaching Lucy at the video store where I’m sure they have much better movies than this one available. She decides to take him home, because I guess the creepy guy in the black trench coat who approached her in the video store is a good enough catch for her standards, and surprise surprise, he kills her soon after. Mary discovers that Lucy went off with some guy, and, jumping to the most bizarre conclusion possible, she of course automatically suspects that it’s Dracula at work. Because a hot blonde girl like this:

…couldn’t POSSIBLY have gotten a date otherwise, right?

Christopher Plummer goes to Mary’s house too and gets killed off easily by Dracula. So much for the great Van Helsing, right? Ho hum. So then we see some more of those wonderful schizophrenic editing in the Rob Zombie style as Mary returns and starts seeing things in the house. She fights some of Dracula’s posse, including the news-lady for some reason, and then runs away only to find Jordan Chase outside! They run away and go to a church, because…I guess the director felt like he hadn’t ripped off The Crow enough with all the shots of Gerard Butler wearing black perched on top of roofs, and had to compensate for his own insecurities.

Through more fight scenes that not even 4th graders who like The Matrix would find endearing and lines so stupid that I’m surprised the actors willingly said them, the movie pretty much gets nowhere. However, there is one line so over the top and so silly that it actually makes the movie worth it…for a few seconds, anyhow. It’s when Jordan Chase is fighting off the vampire chicks. He beats them down and then screams “DON’T EVER FUCK WITH AN ANTIQUES DEALER!” at the top of his lungs, like some kind of battle cry. Yes. I believe we have a new indictment into the hall of absolute AWESOMENESS. No other line in this movie touches this level of over the top cheese.

But yeah, after that it pretty much produces nothing of worth, and I’m almost positive the writers ran out of ideas after that too, because the movie can’t even hold my interest for two seconds anymore. Jordan Chase chases the vamp-chicks around and Mary is kidnapped by Dracula and blah blah blah. They fight on the roof until it’s revealed that…DUN DUN DUN

Somebody call Mel Gibson, I think we have a new movie idea: Dracula and Jesus Christ!

No. No, you can’t be doing this, movie. You seriously can’t!

No, what are you thinking, movie? That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Dracula is Judas? What? Why? What was wrong with the original story so much that you had to add this religious crap into it? It makes zero sense at all and just turns the whole thing into an even bigger joke. This isn’t Dogma or some nonsense where you can just make stuff like that up! At least in that movie it was played for comedy and satire. Here’s it’s supposed to be serious! Ugh. Let’s just finish the damn review.

So Dracula turns Mary into a vampire and tells her to bite Jordan Chase, but in a VERY SURPRISING TWIST she fakes it – didn’t see that one coming, did you? It’s only been used in EVERY OTHER MOVIE EVER MADE after all! Then he throws her off the building but she wraps some wire around his neck before she falls…and wait a minute, wouldn’t the fall barely hurt her anyway? I mean it’s been shown in this movie itself that vampires are almost invincible, so…what? Dracula burns up, Mary turns back into a human somehow, becomes a Buffy the Vampire Slayer rip-off and then we mercifully get the credits!

Phew. So in case you couldn’t tell…this was stupid as hell. It made as much sense as the ramblings of a fever-ridden fourth grader on a sugar high, the acting AND writing was terribly over-done and over-dramatic, the story was a pile of clich├ęd horse crap and the characters weren’t very interesting. I will say it was at least entertaining, but it was entertaining in spite of itself rather than for any actual merit. And that’s never the way to go.

So are you guys ready for the sequel?!?!? I am!