Stephen Sommers wrote and directed Van Helsing, a 2004 American action gothic horror film. Hugh Jackman plays Van Helsing, the monster killer, and Kate Beckinsale plays Anna Valerious. Sommers is a fan of the Universal Horror Monster films from the 1930s and 1940s (also made by Universal Studios and based on novels by Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley), and the film is a reference and tribute to them.
The titular character was based on Abraham Van Helsing, a Dutch vampire hunter from Irish author Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula. The film, which is distributed by Universal Pictures, features Count Dracula (and other vampires), Frankenstein’s monster, Duergar, Mr. Hyde, and werewolves in a manner close to Universal’s multi-monster films of the 1940s, such as Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, House of Frankenstein, and House of Dracula.
Despite largely mixed reviews, the film was a worldwide success, grossing more than $300 million.
During the opening weekend of May 7–9, 2004, the film grossed $51 million at #1. The film made a total of US$300,257,475 worldwide, with US$120,177,084 coming from the United States.
The majority of reviewers gave Van Helsing mixed feedback. According to Rotten Tomatoes, 24 percent of 226 polled critics gave the film a favourable reception, with an overall rating of 4.28/10. The film is described as a “hollow creature element that suffers from CGI overload” by the site’s users. It received a 35/100 rating from Metacritic, based on 38 reviews.
On a scale of A+ to F, audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film an overall rating of “B.” ReelViews’ James Berardinelli gave the film a half-star rating and called it “the worst would-be summer hit since Battlefield Earth,” according to his assessment.
Van Helsing – Cast Members
· Hugh Jackman takes on the role of Gabriel Van Helsing, a famed monster hunter.
· Anna Valerious, played by Kate Beckinsale, is the last descendant of an ancient Romanian dynasty.
· Count Vladislaus Dracula, the king of Transylvania, is played by Richard Roxburgh.
· Carl, a Holy Order friar, is played by David Wenham.
· Frankenstein’s monster is played by Shuler Hensley.
· Kevin J. O’Connor plays Igor, a Frankenstein’s servant who now works for Dracula.
· Velkan Valerious, Anna’s brother, is transformed into a werewolf, and Will Kemp plays him.
· Elena Anaya plays Aleera, Dracula’s youngest bride.
· Cardinal Jinette, Van Helsing’s superior in the Holy Order, is played by Alun Armstrong.
· Verona, the oldest of Dracula’s brides, is played by Silvia Colloca.
· Josie Maran plays Marishka, Dracula’s second oldest bride.
· Top Hat, a Transylvanian grave digger, is played by Tom Fisher.
· Dr. Victor Frankenstein is played by Samuel West.
· Dr. Jekyll is played by Stephen Fisher.
· Mr. Hyde’s voice is played by Robbie Coltrane.
Van Helsing – Plot Details
Dr. Victor Frankenstein, with the aid of his assistant Igor and Count Dracula, creates a monster in Transylvania in 1887. Dracula, a vampire, murders Frankenstein in order to exploit the monster for his own ends.
The beast flees to a windmill with his dead maker while a furious crowd storms Castle Frankenstein. The crowd set fire to the windmill, ostensibly killing the monster.
After a brawl in Notre-Dame de Paris, monster hunter Van Helsing kills Mr. Hyde a year later. Van Helsing, who suffers from amnesia, hunts down darkness on behalf of the Vatican City, seeking to atone for past sins.
Cardinal Jinette assigns him the task of destroying Dracula in Transylvania. He also has to defend the last survivors of an ancient Romanian tribe, the Valerious, whose ancestor promised that his descendants would either destroy Dracula or perish in Purgatory if they did not. He is handed a ripped parchment that reads in Latin, “In the name of God, open this door.”
Carl, an eccentric friar and scientist, joins Van Helsing on his journey to Transylvania. Anna and Velkan Valerious try to kill a Dracula-controlled werewolf, but it and Velkan both drown in a river. Dracula’s three brides – Verona, Marishka, and Aleera – attack Van Helsing and Carl in a village, where they and Anna are targeted.
Marishka is killed by Van Helsing. Anna decides to cooperate with Van Helsing, but she runs into Velkan, who has been cursed to transform into a werewolf every full moon.
They accompany Velkan to Castle Frankenstein, which is now being used by Dracula in an effort to recreate Dr. Frankenstein’s experiments to bring his zombie children to life, with Velkan acting as a medium. As Anna seeks to save Velkan from his spell, Van Helsing approaches Dracula, who recognises Van Helsing and addresses him as “Gabriel,” promising to return his memories to him.
Dracula discovers that his plan has failed, and Van Helsing and Anna leave the palace. Carl has a drawing come to life, showing two knights changing into vampires and werewolves, respectively.
Van Helsing and Anna find themselves in a deep cave under the ruined windmill, where they encounter Frankenstein’s monster, the real secret to Dracula’s plans. Van Helsing chooses the Vatican as a safe haven for the beast.
The brides and Velkan ambush the party just outside Budapest. Both Verona and Velkan are defeated, but not until Velkan bites Van Helsing and curses him to transform into a werewolf.
Aleera kidnaps Anna and makes a deal with Van Helsing to exchange her for the monster. The beast is imprisoned in a crypt by Van Helsing, but he is captured by Dracula’s zombie horde. Van Helsing and Carl rescue Anna by using a light-emitting bomb developed by Carl to kill the vampires.
Returning to the Valerious family’s palace, Carl explains that Dracula is the son of Anna’s ancestor, trapped behind a huge walled map of Transylvania in an ice fortress. Van Helsing unlocks the door with the broken parchment and discovers Dracula’s castle.
Dracula has a cure for lycanthropy, according to the trapped monster; Carl realises that only a werewolf can defeat Dracula. Van Helsing captures Igor and sends him, Anna, and Carl to find the antidote while he frees the beast.
The beast gets hit by lightning twice as he does so, bringing Dracula’s children to life. When Dracula sees Van Helsing, he turns into a supernatural shape and fights him as a werewolf.
As Anna and Carl recover the antidote, Aleera and Igor are both killed. After a bloody brawl, Dracula confesses to Van Helsing that he was the one who killed him 450 years before.
Van Helsing refuses Dracula’s offer to recover all of his memory, claiming that certain things are best left lost. Van Helsing eventually kills him and his children by chewing Dracula’s throat, but Anna is inadvertently killed while administering the antidote.
Van Helsing and Carl hold a funeral for Anna on a hill overlooking the water, where the creature flees on a raft and Van Helsing sees Anna’s soul reunite with her family in Heaven, free of their promise. Van Helsing and Carl embark on their next journey together.
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