Dracula II drops all the characters from Dracula 2000, fudges the ending of that film, but retains the central idea of Dracula in fact being Judas Iscariot, cursed with eternal life. This time around, his sunlight-burned body is recovered by a group of grad students and their crippled professor with the hope of finding a miracle cure from the regenerative qualities of vampire blood. Meanwhile, a vampire-hunting priest named Uffizi (Jason Scott Lee, no more improbable as Italian than he was as Irish in Tale of the Mummy) is on the trail of Dracula (with minor help from Roy Scheider, putting in a few seconds of screen time). Within the limited budget, the story has admirable ambitions, and it skips along at a good pace. Character motivation is a bit hazy at times, however. As well, you’re much better off renting this and Dracula III at the same time,because the story here is very incomplete, leaving viewers hanging in much the same way (all proportions retained) as The Two Towers and The Matrix Reloaded.
One way to make a film sound bigger and more expensive than it was is to make sure the sound is impressive, and by and large the effort here is successful. The sound is very crisp, withn o distortion, and the music has a tremendous, big sound. While the music does stand out far more than any environmental FX, there still some nice sound effects, notably the echoing voices of the vampires.
At a time when a great many small movies are being released on DVD fullscreen, it does my heart good to encounter a low-budget film with a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen ratio. The cinematography here is often quite striking, and the colours are well served by the transfer, whichkeeps them solid and vibrant. Now and then I would have like some of the contrasts during thenight sequences to be a hair stronger, but this is still a fine-looking product.
The commentary – by director Patrick Lussier, writer Joel Soisson and FX supervisor Gary Tunnicliffe – is good fun. Their discussion is lively, at times self-deprecating, and very informative. That said, I would have liked to have heard a bit more by way of explanation about why Lussier and Soisson hacked about with their previous story. Also on offer are tapes of five cast auditions, 4 deleted scenes (with no commentary, however), and trailers for Dracula 2000,Jangled, Asunder and (most intriguingly) Quentin Tarantino’s new Kill Bill. The menu isbasic.
The film does not stand on its own particularly well, but remains an entertaining-enough B-picture, given a solid treatment on this release.