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Wednesday, January 3, 2001

Wes Craven Presents: Dracula 2000

Posted By on Wed, Jan 3, 2001 at 12:00 AM

Cool, young and sexy, Bram Stoker’s Dracula goes MTV with a unique Catholic twist in Wes Craven Presents: Dracula 2000.

Abraham Van Helsing (Christopher Plummer, The Insider) is a dealer in antiquities and a man of many secrets. The greatest lies in the subterranean ruins of a chapel, hallowed ground, beneath his museumlike shop, protected by alarms and guards, locked behind a bank vault’s door. Solina (Jennifer Esposito), one of his young assistants, logically assumes Van Helsing’s greatest treasures lie buried below. She and her boyfriend, Marcus (Omar Epps, Love and Basketball), a master thief, plan a heist which goes without a hitch — until they discover that the only treasure below is a metal coffin. Solina and Marcus boost the coffin, not without a few casualties to their crew of thieves, hoping that it contains the antique dealer’s booty, but it proves to be Van Helsing’s Pandora’s box: The thieves unwitting unleash Dracula. It’s up to Van Helsing and his closest assistant, Simon (Jonny Lee Miller, Mansfield Park), to somehow stop the indestructible vampire before he claims a woman who shares his blood — and Van Helsing’s.

Dracula 2000 is cool in more than one sense of the word. Director Patrick Lussier — whose scary movie pedigree includes editing Wes Craven’s Scream series and Halloween H20: Halloween 20 Years Later (1998) — chills the screen with icy blues you can almost feel. His visuals are fresh while recalling some of director Ken Russell’s more fantastic moments, as in his Lair of the White Worm (1988). And Epps’ Marcus is James Bond-chilly — until Dracula thaws him out.

While the first third of Dracula 2000 may have some of the scariest film moments of the year, the remainder becomes an action flick, an MTV version of last year’s End of Days, where the basic plot involves saving a virginal heroine from sexual union with an embodiment of evil.

Dracula 2000 is young and sexy, the new prerequisite for modern horror flicks. Its “Baywatch”-buxom vampiresses lend sexual innuendo to the phrase, “We sucked him dry.” Lussier and executive producer Craven make this Dracula a Scream.

E-mail James Keith La Croix at letters@metrotimes.com.

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