Thursday, February 20, 2014

#1,284. Way of the Vampire (2005)

Directed By: Sarah Nean Bruce, Eduardo Durão

Starring: Rhett Giles, Andreas Beckett, Paul Logan

Tag line: "The battle between good and evil ends tonight"

Trivia: In Venezuela, the title of this film was changed to Van Helsing vs. Dracula

Abraham Van Helsing (Rhett Giles), 19th century vampire hunter, is about to face his most difficult challenge. Leaving his beloved wife Yvonne (Alix Henning) in the care of Sebastian (Andreas Beckett), one of the monks in his service, Van Helsing leads his band of warriors against the evil Count Dracula (Paul Logan), who’s holed up in a castle along with the rest of his brood. Though ultimately victorious, Van Helsing soon discovers Sebastian is, in fact, a vampire prince, and he quickly puts the bite on the helpless Mrs. Van Helsing. Hoping to avenge his wife, Van Helsing makes a deal with the Holy Templars of the Catholic Church which, in essence, grants him eternal youth, and will allow him to remain in this world until he defeats every last vampire prince. Posing as a doctor in modern-day Los Angeles, Van Helsing continues the fight, only to learn his arch-rival Sebastian (who, as luck would have it, is also in the city) and his loyal disciple Arianna (Denise Bouette) are about to lead their brood out of hiding, threatening to unleash a new reign of terror only Van Helsing can prevent.

Sounds pretty cool, right? Alas, it isn’t. Produced by The Asylum, Way of the Vampire is a dreadful movie that never once lives up to the potential of its story. The opening scene, set in the 19th century, has Van Helsing and his small army of monks going up against Dracula and his brides. Featuring very little dialogue, this "battle" consists mostly of brief snippets, presented in black and white, in which Van Helsing’s men put up a feeble fight, quickly falling victim to the bloodsuckers they were trying to destroy. Like all of the action scenes in Way of the Vampire, this beginning sequence is a total non-event. Performance-wise, Giles is mediocre at best as Van Helsing, while Beckett’s turn as Sebastian is, at times, way over-the-top (a speech he delivers towards the start of the film is almost laughable). Only Denise Bouette, seductively beautiful as Arianna, escapes with her dignity intact.

Released straight to video in 2005, Way of the Vampire was clearly intended to cash in on Stephen Sommers’ 2004 big-budget spectacular, Van Helsing, which in itself isn’t a particularly memorable film. Compared to this stinker, though, Van Helsing looks like one of the Universal classics it was trying to emulate. A poorly acted, horribly paced mess of a movie, Way of the Vampire is one to avoid.

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