#295 -- Van Helsing (2004)

Director: Stephen Sommers
Rating: 4 / 5

Okay, you caught me. This one isn't technically a horror movie, but I don't anyone will argue with my reasons for including it on a horror movie blog. Anyone who hasn't seen this can figure out the basic story of it; and anyone who has seen it probably loves it. It is a wonderful movie with a very interesting and different version of the story of Dracula.

In the beginning, we see Dracula killing Dr. Frankenstein. He had brought Frankenstein to Transylvania to create the Monster for him, and once he'd succeeded, Dracula felt he didn't need the doctor anymore. That, and Victor refused to let Dracula use his creation for evil, like he'd planned. But Dracula didn't count on the Monster having a working brain that could form its own thoughts. The Monster ran away, holding its father in its arms. They ended up at the windmill that the angry mob burned to the ground. Cut to one year later, and we meet Van Helsing as he's attempting to kill the evil Mr. Hyde. Mr. Hyde kind of looks like an ogre, he's extremely agile, and he jumps around like a ninja. He finishes Mr. Hyde off, and he is then sent to Transylvania to get rid of Dracula.

Once in Transylvania, he meets the beautiful Anna. She's from a family that has been trying for hundreds of years to kill Dracula, and she will be his aide as he attempts to do the same. Along with these two, there's also a friar/weapons inventor named Carl. They eventually meet up with the Monster, who isn't quite as dead as Dracula had originally thought. They all form a very wonderful team, each with their own assets to help out on the mission. Carl is the brains; Anna and Van Helsing are the brawn, and the Monster has some inside information on Dracula that will help them greatly. Turns out, Dracula needed the monster because he was the key to Dr. Frankenstein's machine, and if he was captured once again, Dracula would be able to raise thousands of his children. Also, the only thing that can kill Dracula is a werewolf. Anna's brother is turned into a werewolf, and we assume for a while that he's the one who will kill Dracula. But he is killed by Van Helsing, and Dracula's real enemy is much more powerful.

There are so many great things going on in this movie that I honestly don't know where to begin. First of all, there's that intro. The beginning is my favorite part of the movie, because it shows a battle between Dracula and Victor Frankenstein. I know there must be more movies that bring these two together, but this is the first one I've seen, and I fucking love it. Frankenstein's Monster looks very different than he did originally, but he doesn't look bad at all; he actually looks really great. I was happy that they didn't change the character's traits too much too. He was still a benevolent and misunderstood creature, and at first, Van Helsing was the only person who could see that. He became a great friend and ally to the rest of them. Not only did it combine Dracula and Frankenstein, but it had the Wolf Man as well. The only thing it was missing was a few zombies, and then it would have been a horror fan's wet dream. There were also a lot of great people here. There was Hugh Jackman as Van Helsing, Kate Beckinsale as Anna, and Robbie Coltrane as Mr. Hyde. Yep, fucking Hagrid. He's practically un-recognizable, but it's just god-damn wonderful. Maybe it's just me, since I'm a huge Harry Potter fan, but I was so excited when I realized.

Besides all that, when you get down to the core of it, it's just a great movie. It has a great story that combined a lot of my favorite things, and it was different than any other I'd seen. It was full of non-stop action, wonderful fight scenes (with a bunch of people who were apparently raised as ninjas), amazing special effects, and a nice little love story thrown in for good measure (or to appeal to women...). It was exciting, different, funny at times and sad at times. Overall, it's very simple -- Van Helsing is a wonderful movie, and even though it might not technically be a horror movie, every horror fan should see it.

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