Wednesday, February 14, 2007



"There is ... very little that this film does right, and I can identify nothing to justify its existence." - James Berardinelli, REELVIEWS


Well, as you might guess from the film’s title, it’s the year 2000, and Dracula gets set loose by a bunch of thieves who find his coffin in a vault which they believed would contain priceless works of art. Since there is no art in the place, the thieves decide to take the coffin instead. How do such stupid people come by the money to afford the high-tech equipment these goons are toting around? Anyway, once free, Dracula proceeds to bite some people, who bite some other people, and so on. C’mon, it’s a vampire movie, what else did you expect. Along the way, we're treated to some obligatory Buffy-style kung-fu vampire slaying, a laughable mid-air sex scene with pop singer Vitamin C (You know, sometimes, when you're discussing these movies, you just have to pause and stare in wonder at what you've just written.), and some convoluted reworkings of characters from Bram Stoker's novel. It all ends badly.


Sometimes, if you stick it out through one of these movies, you might find that there’s actually an interesting idea buried in amongst the bad dialogue, undeveloped characters and stunning lack of logic.

What’s interesting in this film is that Dracula is not identified as the ancient European bad-guy Vlad the Impaler, but is instead (get ready) Judas Iscariot. That’s right, in this movie, after betraying Jesus and choosing suicide rather than seeking forgiveness; Judas receives the horrible curse of becoming the first vampire. (Don’t bother trying to find this incident in the Bible, it isn’t there.)

It’s a pretty clever take on the vampire myth and offers a unique explanation on why many of the vampire legends are so Christian centered. The undead are a mockery of true resurrection. The blood-sucking is a mockery of Communion. Vampires are weakened by Christian symbols such as the Cross, holy water, and silver (Judas’ 30 piece payoff, remember). And even though the movie doesn’t go there, you could even include the vampire’s dislike of garlic because Anne Emmerich, the lady who wrote one of Mel Gibson's favorites, The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, claims that the meat at the Last Supper was seasoned with it. (I’ll accept my award for most outstanding useless trivia now, thank you.)

That’s all fun, but what really makes this movie interesting is when you put it in the context of a gospel reading like the scene in Matthew 18. This is the oft repeated story where Peter approaches Jesus and asks him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus answers, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times."

I was reminded of this passage after our heroine Mary, a cashier at the local Virgin Records Megastore (Get it? Good. Please direct all groans and complaints to the screenwriter.), manages to lure Dracula/Judas into a trap. Rather than immediately destroy the vampire, she offers him another choice. Why not just ask Jesus for forgiveness?

To his credit, Gerard Butler, the guy playing Judas, actually pulls off a decent bit of acting at this point as he considers the idea. Unfortunately, since there were already even worse sequels in the works (Does everything really NEED to be a trilogy these days?), Judas concludes that his sin was too horrible to be forgiven and must be set out to roast in the sunlight until the next movie.

The mistake that the Judas character in the film makes is, sadly, a very common one. It’s the inability to accept forgiveness once it’s offered. The realization of just how deeply we’ve hurt some of the people in our lives can often lead some of us to think there is no chance for reconciliation. Hearing someone say it just isn’t enough sometimes.

It’s a subtle trap, really; another kind of false pride. Listen, if you find yourself feeling like the worst of the worst, just read the Bible and take a look at some of the rouges gallery presented in its pages.

  • Jacob – liar, thief – father of the twelve tribes of Israel
  • King David – murderer, adulterer – called a man after God’s heart
  • St. Paul – genocidal fanatic – wrote two-thirds of the New Testament

With a little forgiveness, those three ended up doing okay for themselves. And even if you have those guys beat, (frightening, but doubtful) you should step back and realize that when you don’t accept forgiveness, you are judging your own soul, and that’s God’s job, not yours. Accept the forgiveness Jesus offers, then go out do the same for someone else.

As the ever-questionable (but dead-right in this case) Wikipedia so neatly puts it in its article on this topic, “Forgiveness may be necessary for civilization, since without it, all wrongs would demand revenge, which may themselves be taken as wrongs requiring revenge, resulting in a spiraling escalation of retaliation, leading ultimately to utter destruction.” In its purest form, forgiveness is the elimination of a debt that could never be repaid. Jesus gave it to us, and for the good of our personal relationships, for the whole world really, we have to give it for each other, and to ourselves.


It’s possible to forgive someone without re-establishing a relationship with them. As Bishop Joseph Ekuwen once said, "When someone offends you and makes an apology, you forgive them but keep them at an arms distance. You refuse to re-admit the other into your life. When you do this, reconciliation is missing." If we’re really trying to imitate God, then that means we can’t just forgive someone, we’re expected to reconcile with them. If they’re truly repentant, we’re expected in some way to try and bring them back into our lives. How 'freakin' hard is that?


Anonymous said...


Nice review. Ive never seen the film but it sounds like it is one worth picking up at some point. I like the idea of Judas being the first vampire. Good twist. And a well written thought provoking review. nice one!


D. G. D. Davidson said...

Is there any relationship between this movie and Jesus Christ, Vampire Hunter?

EegahInc said...

The only relation I can think of is that I've watched them both :) J C Vampire Hunter was more like a bunch of out of work actors trying to make a stage version of a South Park episode.