‘Van Helsing’ is frighteningly bad

Carrie Cleaveland

“Van Helsing” had such initial promise. Hugh Jackman fighting evil worked well for “X-Men,” so logically his presence in the title role should bear similar fruit. Unfortunately, even Jackman cannot rescue “Van Helsing” from the poorest writing in the history of film, the worst CGI since “The Hulk,” and an ending so ridiculous it insults the intelligence of every audience member.Director Steven Sommers, who made popular “The Mummy” movies, simply tries to incorporate too much. “Van Helsing” includes nearly every staple character of horror films: Dracula, werewolves, Frankenstein’s monster, and the brides of Dracula – whose entire acting ability seems to be based on wearing skimpy clothing and wailing. As a result, the film becomes cluttered with characters that have received commentary hundreds of times over; Sommers merely cuts and pastes these characters from previous films, rather than offering a new spin on classic roles.

Audiences don’t flock to “Van Helsing” on account of any expectations that it’s a superior piece of filmmaking. They go – as I did – in hopes of watching Hugh Jackman beat up bad guys. It may be the basest and most hackneyed form of entertainment, but it is entertaining nonetheless. Aside from the ending, “Van Helsing” doesn’t disappoint.

If, however, the Academy Awards gave a statue for the worst possible ending, “Van Helsing” would not only win, but would force the retirement of the award. I actually feel personally insulted by Sommers for thinking that I, or any other intelligent creature, could accept such ridiculousness. The final five minutes were nonsensical, melodramatic, hackneyed, and even included our hero riding off into the sunset. It’s intended to be the most thoughtful and serious portion of the film, yet received bigger laughs than the film’s best jokes and even a collective groan from the audience.

Until “Van Helsing,” I never thought it possible that a single scene could sully an entire film that had proved otherwise entertaining. Had I left immediately after Dracula’s inevitable defeat, I would have given the film a B+. Having seen the wretched ending, I am forced to give “Van Helsing” a D.

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