'It's alive!' screams Dr Frankenstein (West) of his leather-patch monster, raising hopes that this putative blockbuster may be tempered by Hammer-esque drollery. Wrong. The deft hand Sommers applied to dovetailing horror hokum and Saturday morning serial in The Mummy has its digits bitten off here, in favour of repetitive, unmodulated, attention-grabbing set pieces, vertiginous CGI effects, monster set design and loud faux portentous music. Van Helsing (hunter of ghouls 'from Tibet to Istanbul', goes one laughable line) is sturdily played by Jackman as a lone ranger, tortured (gently) by an absence of memory, and employed by a ludicrous outfit of multi-denominational Vatican priests to kill Dracula (Roxburgh, underwhelming) and his gloopy super-evil progeny. But the hero's relationship with a sexed-up Beckinsale as the last of an evil-avenging dynasty is kept chastely banter-free and uninvolving. What's left is a world of industrial Gothicism, nightmare morphing effects, ahistoric gadgetry and Breughel-lite grotesquerie.
Cast and crew
Kevin J O'Connor