Dracula 2000 raises an unholy cinematic stench that nonetheless brings sweet news for the new year. During the holidays, audiences joined up with critics to jam a stake in this sucker’s heart. That joint action sent a clear message to Miramax’s Dimension Films: Stop with the cheap horror rip-offs. Wes Craven, director of the megahit Scream trilogy, had nothing to do with this rancid cheese except to take home a paycheck. Patrick Lussier, a who-he? name if ever there was one, sat in the director’s chair, or slept in it, to judge by what’s onscreen. One wonders what devils persuaded the great Christopher Plummer to smear his reputation with this slime.
Plummer, last seen to superb advantage as Mike Wallace in The Insider, stars as an antiques dealer named Van Helsing. That’s right, he’s really Abraham Van Helsing, the vampire slayer who has kept himself alive for more than a century by ingesting vampire blood. Van Helsing keeps Dracula (Gerard Butler) zip-locked in his coffin until his secretary, Solina (Jennifer Esposito), and a band of thieves prop it open. It’s “bite me” time as the count heads for New Orleans chased by Van Helsing and his protege, Simon (Jonny Lee Miller). Dracula may stay undead in the new millennium, but there’s not a sign of life — oh, that bloodless acting — in this sorry mess.