HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Harpoon
Great Northfield Minnesota Raid, The
Dark Phoenix
No Mercy
Arctic
Fate of Lee Khan, The
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
Ladyworld
Rocketman
Kid Who Would Be King, The
Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound
America America
Darkest Minds, The
Along Came Jones
Hummingbird Project, The
Under the Table You Must Go
Harry Birrell Presents Films of Love and War
Hanging Tree, The
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare
Itsy Bitsy
Witchmaker, The
Prey, The
If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium
Happy Death Day 2U
Full Moon High
Strange But True
Kamikaze 1989
Never Grow Old
Time of Your Life, The
Mountain Men, The
Epic
Best Before Death
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
Isabelle
Non-Stop New York
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood
Oblomov
Alita: Battle Angel
We the Animals
   
 
Newest Articles
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
   
 
  Van Helsing Famous Monsters Of FilmlandBuy this film here.
Year: 2004
Director: Stephen Sommers
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Kate Beckinsale, Richard Roxburgh, David Wenham, Shuler Hensley, Elena Anaya, Will Kemp, Kevin J. O'Connor, Alun Armstrong, Silvia Colloca, Josie Maran, Tom Fisher, Samuel West, Robbie Coltrane
Genre: Horror, Action, Historical
Rating:  3 (from 3 votes)
Review: The year is 1887. In Transylvania, Dr Victor Frankenstein (Samuel West) is making scientific history as he brings a collection of sewn together body parts to life through the use of lightning. However, outside his castle the local villagers are not happy, and storm the building, meaning to destroy the monster the doctor has created. And the doctor is not alone, as a figure steps out of the shadows: Count Dracula (Richard Roxburgh), who means to put Frankenstein's new methods to his own nefarious use. And so it is that Frankenstein ends up dead, carried by his creation to an abandoned windmill as the villagers chase them, as Dracula escapes to draw his plans together. Only one man can stop him now, a certain Gabriel Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman)...

Written by the director Stephen Sommers, this flashy, horror-themed adventure was his homage to the classic series of Universal chillers of the thirties and forties which featured Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster and the Wolfman, among others. The Van Helsing here is not the Van Helsing of Bram Stoker's novel, he's more of a nineteenth century James Bond for the supernatural, a rugged man of action with an array of gadgets and a neat line in ingenuity, but without much in the way of womanising tendencies as he keeps his mind on his work for the most part. There are echoes of Sommers' Mummy movies too, with a male and female duo of monster beaters and a British sidekick providing comic relief, but the formula isn't quite as breezy this time around.

When we first see our hero it is one year after the events of the opening sequence (which was rather quaintly filmed in black and white), and he's in Paris, hunting down a villain. Some strange figure is glimpsed on the Notre Dame cathedral - could it be the hunchback? Nope, it's Mr Hyde of "Dr Jekyll and" fame (it's not explained what exactly he's doing there), and a battle to the death ensues with Van Helsing gaining the upper hand. After that confrontation, he makes his way to the Vatican, where his bosses are, to learn of his latest assignment, which is that he must travel to Transylvania and destroy Dracula before he wipes out a valuable gypsy bloodline. Pausing only to recruit friar Carl (David Wenham) as a right hand man, he is soon on his way.

Although supposedly respecting his sources, Sommers is not afraid to make up his own rules instead of relying on the traditional laws of the genre. So our introduction to the brides of Dracula is in broad daylight, with no explanation of why bright light kills a whole host of vampires later on when it does nothing to kill these deadly ladies, whose whole act consists of picking people up, flying off and dropping them from a great height - this happens about fifty times. Luckily, Van Helsing arrives to foil their scheme to carry off feisty gypsy leader Anna (Kate Beckinsale), and they forge a wary alliance as her brother has been bitten by a wolfman and is now being used by Dracula to animate his gargoyle-like offspring with Frankenstein's equipment. And that's not to mention a sympathetic Frankenstein's Monster (Shuler Hensley) who has emerged from the ruins of the windmill. Or Dracula's Oompa-Loompas.

In the best of the classic Universal horrors, the weight of tragedy was never far away, but in this incarnation any attempt at depth comes across as superficial, a means to get the plot from A to B as smoothly as possible. There are a few nice moments of humour, as when a wolfman falls from a great height, Wile E. Coyote-style, into a river, but usually it's the cheesiness that makes you chuckle indulgently. Dracula is rather camp, with a habit of walking up walls, and when it is revealed that the only way to kill him isn't with a stake but with a werewolf, you can't help but groan. Everything in Van Helsing is driven by the special effects artists, whose plentiful supply of computer animation makes the thing resemble a frenetic arcade game. Fair enough, Sommers wanted to make a rollercoaster ride of an event movie, but on this evidence he lacks the imagination to spruce up these venerable characters. What this film really needs is personality, and you can't design that on a computer. Music by Alan Silvestri.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 4760 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: