DRACULA 2000

Biting Backstabber

Content -3
Quality
None Light Moderate Heavy
Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: December 22, 2000

Starring: Jonny Lee Miller, Omar Epps,
Christopher Plummer, Justine
Waddell, & Gerard Butler

Genre: Supernatural Horror

Audience: Older teenagers & adults

Rating: R

Runtime: 100 minutes

Distributor: Dimension Films

Director: Patrick Lussier

Executive Producer: Wes Craven, Marianne
Maddalena, Andrew Rona, Bob
Weinstein, & Harvey Weinstein

Producer: W.K. Border & Joel Soisson

Writer: Joel Soisson & Patrick Lussier

Address Comments To:

Bob Weinstein & Harvey Weinstein
Dimension Films
A Division of Miramax Films
99 Hudson Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (212) 219-4100
Fax: (212) 941-3836
Website: www.dimensionfilms.com

Content:

(OOO, CCC, BB, AbAb, LL, VVV, SS, NN, A, DD, MM) Strong occult worldview of immortal character who lives off blood of others, but with strong Christian elements, including many references to Jesus & Judas Iscariot's betrayal with some paraphrased Scripture with love of Christ is upheld, the Deity of Christ is asserted & scenes from Scripture shown, moral elements of good defeating evil, & anti-biblical elements of character “hating all things Christian” who embraces all things evil; 13 obscenities, 7 profanities, sexual references, & some conversation by evil character blaspheming Christ’s work; strong bloody violence such as multiple neck bites, rats feed off corpses with some blood, man hits man with stun gun, man throws chemical at other man, old skulls are found with depicted fangs, man shown impaled by many spikes, depicted blood sucked up through coffin, man points gun & shoots at man who merely looks down at bullet holes, man accidentally cuts finger with metal piece, depicted corpse with leeches on it, several scary moments including implied creature attacking man, leech jumping & clinging onto man’s face, implied attack on man with blood splattering, graphic depiction of corpse with badly severed neck, woman’s neck seen being slit by invisible creature, man struggles with invisible creature, man stabs & shoots creature in eye, woman grabs man & pulls him through window with depicted shattering of glass, girl has many scary visions, & several other violent scenes; depicted & implied fornication, kissing, some scenes of nude women sensuously dancing behind curtain (only outline is visible), & sensuality; upper male & female nudity, woman in underwear; alcohol use at parties depicted during Mardi Gras; smoking & man injects self with blood from a leech as a means of prolonging his life; and, lying, blackmail & revenge which are all rebuked.

Summary:

DRACULA 2000 rewrites vampire mythology by turning the evil Count Dracula into a famous historical villain from Holy Scripture. Although the evil vampire is still defeated in the end of the story, and despite some pro-Christian elements, DRACULA 2000 maintains a modernistic occult worldview and includes strong violence, nudity, sexual immorality, and a fair amount of foul language.

Review:

Producer Wes Craven’s DRACULA 2000 attempts to rewrite the mythology of what is probably the most popular horror legend of all time. This updated version takes extreme measures to differentiate its Dracula from the rest by giving him a soul and by making that soul cursed by God.

Abraham Van Helsing (Christopher Plummer of THE INSIDER) is an antique dealer/collector who, along with his assistant Simon (Jonny Lee Miller of MANSFIELD PARK), has built a very profitable business in London. Unknown to Simon, Van Helsing has been keeping himself alive for over 100 years with the blood of Dracula, whom he has imprisoned in an underground safe beneath his London office building. The reason he keeps himself alive is to guard the sleeping Dracula and, in the mean time, discover as much as he can about the vampire’s origin with the hope of destroying him permanently. All he knows so far of Dracula is, one, Dracula is not his original name (he actually inspired Bram Stoker’s novel and, thus, got the moniker); two, he “hates all things Christian” (they hurt him, but do not kill him); three, he hates silver (which is unique to this Dracula and foreshadows the twist in the end); and four, anyone whom Dracula bites becomes a vampire also (though less powerful and more easily destroyed).

Eileen (Jennifer Esposito of THE BACHELOR), another assistant of Van Helsing’s, believes there to be some kind of treasure hidden in the underground safe, so she has her boyfriend and his band of highly fashionable thieves break into the safe by using very high-tech equipment. When all they find is Dracula’s coffin surrounded by booby traps, they blow their way out of the vault and make off with the coffin, hoping there is treasure inside.

When Van Helsing discovers the coffin is gone, he gathers his vampire-killing weaponry and leaves for America to New Orleans where, according to a news report, there’s been a plane crash from which the coffin was extricated. Simon, against orders, follows Van Helsing, and together they arrive to find that Dracula (played by Gerard Butler) has been released from his prison and is in search of a specific person – Van Helsing’s daughter. It seems that, when Van Helsing captured Dracula in the late 1800s, he was stabbed with a stake that had the vampire’s blood on it, thereby infecting him with that blood. Sometime later his daughter was born – also carrying the blood of Dracula. Now, Dracula is in search of her because, unknown to her, she is like him. “Blood of my blood, flesh of my flesh,” he describes her, because she is born, not infected, with his blood.

Simon, shocked by the new world opened before his eyes, vows to help protect Van Helsing’s daughter Mary (and, coincidentally, is an adept fighter with witty, sometimes cheesy, mid-battle one-liners). After some fighting, a few Dracula seductions and some Mardi Gras bloodsucking, Dracula finally captures Mary and takes her to the roof of a church. There he spills his heart to her and shows her what no one else knows: the first of his many names.

The entire story of DRACULA 2000 is quite predictable – but the revelation of Dracula’s origin is not. MOVIEGUIDE® will not normally reveal the ending to a movie, but this “twist” ending has too many spiritual implications to be left untold. This movie’s success rests on the creativity of Wes Craven to give viewers something they’ve never seen before in prior novels and films. This “something” is to directly incorporate the Gospel of Christ – going back to the days leading up to the Lord’s death on the cross. In a flashback sequence, viewers see the Last Supper with Jesus surrounded by his disciples. A disciple at the end of the table turns toward the camera, the camera reveals that he has the face of Dracula, and some silver coins trade hands. Anyone with knowledge of Scripture will realize what this whole movie has been building toward from the beginning. In essence, this story is not about the Count at all, but about the greatest betrayal of all time: that of Judas Iscariot or, as this movie reveals, Dracula. This is not an expansion of the existing Dracula, but a rewriting of the legend based in history, which in turn, raises Dracula to an historical status or lowers the Gospel to a mythical status – more likely it does a little of both.

At this point in the movie, Dracula is far too developed a character to take the twist, nevertheless he does, turning from a heartless (or, soul-less) vampire to a helpless, miserable victim of the sovereignty of God. He claims that it was not his decision to betray Christ, but that Christ needed him in order to accomplish His goal on earth, which was to die. This Judas regretted what he did and tried to hang himself, but God would not let him die. The rope broke and he was damned to roam the earth immortal. Where the supernatural powers come from is never explained, however.

During a conversation between Judas/Dracula and Mary, Judas states that God will not allow him to die. Mary asks him if he’s asked for forgiveness, to which he says, “He will not have me” (in other words, no). To which Mary replies, “He still loves you.” This conversation takes place after Dracula/Judas has referred to the Bible as “propaganda” and has shown not even the slightest hint of a repentant heart. It is interesting to note, however, that the movie defends the love of Jesus Christ and asserts that Jesus Christ was indeed God, Divinity Incarnate. Also, Judas/Dracula is a true villain who is eventually destroyed. The theological twists and references to the Gospel in the movie’s last scenes, however, might raise questions among Christians or confuse and irritate non-Christians.

Technically, the plot to this movie is so full of holes that it comes across as confusing. Spiritually, the Bible is cited, but the movie twists certain elements of the Gospel to form a character that Dracula was never intended to be. Hell is never acknowledged as an existing place, nor that it would have been a much greater punishment for Judas than earth. Other problems include the roots of Judas’ appetite for human blood, the fangs, the superhuman powers (such as turning into bats and wolves), and the power of seduction over all women. The reality is that these occult trappings had to be incorporated once the filmmakers took on the task of updating the Dracula myth.

Thus, although the evil vampire is still defeated in the end of the story, DRACULA 2000 maintains a modernistic occult worldview. It also includes strong violence, nudity, sexual immorality, and a fair amount of foul language.

In Brief:

In DRACULA 2000, Producer Wes Craven attempts to rewrite the mythology of what is probably the most popular horror legend of all time. With a character so widely written already, they go to extreme measures to differentiate this Dracula by giving him a soul and by making that soul cursed by God. The entire movie’s success rests on the creativity of the filmmakers to give viewers something they've never seen before in the scores of past Dracula novels and films. This “something” is to directly incorporate the Gospel of Jesus Christ – going back to the days leading up to Christ’s death on the cross. In essence, DRACULA 2000 is not about the Count at all, but about the greatest betrayal of all time: that of Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.

Although the evil vampire is still defeated in the end of the story, and despite some pro-Christian elements, DRACULA 2000 maintains a modern occult worldview. It also includes strong violence, nudity, sexual immorality, and a fair amount of foul language. Technically, the plot to this movie is so full of holes that it comes across as confusing