What would happen if someone were to go to a horror convention with a camera and then turn what they filmed into an actual horror film? A serious monster mash. This stars Dracula, The Wolfman, Frankenstein’s Monster, Kate Beckinsale and the sexiest man alive. That’s right Hugh Jackman is the legendary vampire hunter and archenemy of Dracula. Buckle up readers this is Van Helsing!
So the film begins for some reason in black and white. It may be some sort of homage to the old Frankenstein films from the past, but I’m not certain of that. After the colour comes back from vacation and following a nice opening battle with Mr. Hyde our hero Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) sets out to defeat Dracula and save Anna (Kate Beckinsale) from getting stuck in purgatory for plot reasons. Inserting various horror villains like Igor along the way the film builds up to a long and entertaining climax with a big fight between Van Helsing and Dracula. All things considered it’s pretty much what you would expect from a film that has Van Helsing and most of the famous horror monsters such as Dracula.
As far as effects go they are okay. The CGI of The Wolfman and The Brides of Dracula, when in their bat form, are all decent enough yet nothing special really. The Frankenstein Monster is very impressive. I seriously wondered how they did it because he looks far from being a big piece of CGI. As for Mr. Hyde and the weird little bat creatures they don’t hold up quite so well. Dracula in his transformed bat form is about on the same level as The Wolfman so there’s nothing to complain about in general when comes to talking about him. Igor was a little scary thanks to the rather convincing facial effects and the massive hunchback.
Acting wise the film does well. Hugh Jackman is a great Van Helsing and I don’t think the difference between the film and novel’s characters age really matters. Anna is done with some skill by Kate Beckinsale who brings the faintest bit of romance to an otherwise violent story. Carl (David Wenham) is a bit of a silly sort of sidekick who is greatly overshadowed by the other characters which is a pity really because Wenham isn’t what I would call a bad actor. Now this film features one of the best incarnations of Dracula I’ve ever seen due to Richard Roxburgh’s mean acting. This Dracula goes from darkly charming to crazy and menacing which I think is a bit like some of the other film interpretations of the character, but I wouldn’t go comparing Roxburgh to Christopher Lee or Gary Oldman.
Van Helsing is essentially a big gathering of horror monsters all rolled into one big ball of awesomeness held together by Hugh Jackman and the decent effects. Occasionally scary and very entertaining this is one story about love, revenge, and vampires that needs to be watched.