23 August 2004 | bob the moo
A fairly uninteresting telling of the story that does nothing very well
When a group of thieves break into the antiques shop belonging to Matthew Van Helsing, they bypass the valuables and head to the basement, where they steal a pure silver coffin that they suspect is full of riches. They escape the scene via plane, but the coffin's inhabitant, Dracula, comes to life and kills them all and the plane crashes in New Orleans on the eve of the Mari Gras. With Dracula being drawn to his daughter Mary, Van Helsing flies to New Orleans with his protégé Simon in tow. However he arrives to find that Dracula has already regained strength and has turned several people already.
I tuned into this years after it had vanished from the cinema having barely made more than a ripple at the UK box office. Seeing it on TV now I can totally understand why it didn't do much business. The plot doesn't really go anywhere and squanders any potential it may have had in a very simple little film that is all over very quickly. Taking huge jumps in plot logic (both real logic and vampire movie logic), the film throws up a few average action scenes and not much else. I wouldn't even really call it scary even if some of it made me flinch a little bit with the early gore. Neither the direction nor the script do anything to justify the update of this story and in the end it doesn't even really stand out as a good teen horror.
The cast flatters the film and most of them are badly used with the bigger names playing second fiddle to the lesser names (in my opinion). Butler's Dracula is far too obvious and easy he has no real charisma but yet we are supposed to buy that he is seductive and ruthless. Miller is OK but he is not very well used and is suddenly expected to carry the film with it dumped on him halfway in. Plummer does OK but Waddell is pretty annoying. The big names of Epps, Thomas, Esposito and a few others all look sexy and appealing but the film uses them badly considering their star status (consider Epps' face being prominent on the poster to see what I mean that's practically false advertising!).
Overall this is a fairly standard modern horror a bit of gore, no real scares, no real thrills, poor plotting, poor characters and only a handful of amusing kiss-off lines. I can barely remember it even an hour after viewing and I doubt that I'll remember it for much longer so limited was it as a film. Wroth watching if trashy horror is your thing but other than that there is no real reason for putting yourself through this.