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Movie Review

Van Helsing

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for nonstop creature action violence and frightening images, and for sensuality.

Reviewed by: Keith Howland

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Mature Teens and Adults
Horror Action Adventure
2 hr. 20 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
May 7, 2004
Copyright, Universal Studios
Copyright, Universal Studios
Copyright, Universal Studios
Copyright, Universal Studios
Copyright, Universal Studios
Copyright, Universal Studios
Copyright, Universal Studios
Copyright, Universal Studios
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Universal Studios

nature of good and evil

What is the Occult? Answer

THE OCCULT—What does the Bible say about it? Answer

What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer

Featuring: Hugh Jackman
Kate Beckinsale
Richard Roxburgh
Elena Anaya
David Wenham
Director: Stephen Sommers—“Homeward Bound;” “The Mummy Returns;” “The Mummy;” “Deep Rising;” “The Jungle Book”
Producer: Bob Ducsay
Distributor: Universal Studios

Van Helsing (the character) has come a long way. He was introduced in Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula in 1897, as Professor Abraham Van Helsing. He was from Amsterdam, a Doctor of medicine, philosophy and letters, a philosopher, metaphysician, “one of the most advanced scientists of his day,” and a man of “all-embracing sympathy.” A stage play of the novel, dramatized by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston (1927), contained this physical description of the character: “A man of medium height, in the early fifties, with clean-shaven, astute face, shaggy grey eyebrows and a mass of grey hair which is brushed backward showing a high forehead.”

Now, in the movie “Van Helsing,” the character is portrayed by thirty-something Australian Hugh Jackman (sounding American), with thick, long brown hair, stubble, and a cool outfit complete with wide-brimmed hat. His name is Gabriel Van Helsing, and he has no memory of who he is. He seems not to be a doctor, professor, or man of science, but he has an array of high-tech (for 1887) weapons at his well-muscled disposal to use in his ongoing mission to vanquish monsters at the behest of a secretive branch of the Vatican.

Dracula is planning some unknown evil scheme (of course!) that depends upon the contribution of Frankenstein’s Monster. The Wolf Man is on hand as Drac’s lackey to hunt down and slay undesirables who attempt to thwart his scheme. Chief amongst these is a family that has been trying to “kill” Dracula for 400 years, but of which only two remain alive: Anna Valerious (Kate Beckinsale) and her brother, Velkan (Will Kemp). It is later revealed that Dracula had made a pact with Satan to “live” forever (as undead), while the Valerious family had made a pact of their own (with St. Peter, I think) that promised salvation for their entire family if Dracula is killed. [This is, of course, an entirely fictional proposition. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Salvation comes only through faith in Christ, not by any “work” that man or woman can do (Romans 10:9-10; Ephesians 2:8-9), and it is available to all people by God’s grace (John 3:16).]

Van Helsing is briefed on the Dracula situation and sent by his priestly dispatcher-along with a gadget-making friar named Carl (David Wenham)-to Transylvania, where he meets up with Anna and inevitably (1) saves her life and (2) teams up with her to fulfill her family’s quest to kill Dracula.

From beginning to end, “Van Helsing” is full of violence, as you would expect from a movie of this sort. Unnecessarily, it often dwells on disgusting details, such as bursting vampire bats, impalements, rotting flesh, and the transformation of the Wolf Man, which involves his human skin ripping off to reveal the hairy beast beneath. (Inexplicably, it works the other way, too: His fur sheds to reveal human skin underneath when he turns back to a man.)

The film contains only a couple of mild profanities. The name of God is used vainly a half-dozen times, as various people exclaim shock at some monstrosity or another. (The fourth commandment prohibits misuse of God’s name: Exodus 20:7.)

Sex and nudity are also at a minimum, although irrelevant to the story. One male character’s backside is partly exposed in one scene (albeit computer generated), and the “brides” of Dracula are dressed provocatively, with ample cleavage occasionally on display. There is one instance of a woman touching a man suggestively, and another instance of implied fornication: After Carl saves a young woman’s life, she asks how she may return the favor, and he whispers something in her ear. They are next seen awaking in the same bed. (Sex outside of marriage is forbidden by Scripture [Exodus 20:14, Matthew 5:27-28] and is meant to be only between a man and his wife [Matthew 19:4-6, I Corinthians 6:16], as part of the covenant of marriage instituted by God at Creation [Genesis 2:18-24].)

“Van Helsing” is the first “summer” movie of 2004, and as with many recent summer action films, it hits the ground running (there are no opening titles) and hardly pauses to breathe. Character development is incidental, and exposition occurs only when convenient at a particular plot twist. (Having foreknowledge of Frankenstein, Dracula, the Wolf Man, etc., may not be an asset coming into this film, because it makes up all new rules as it goes along.) All aspects of the story are subservient to an onslaught of eye-popping visuals, some of which are perhaps cheesier than the filmmakers would have wished. In the end, the film is more like a theme-park ride than anything else. Indeed, I can imagine that Universal Studios, Florida, is constructing a “Van Helsing” ride as you read this.

The film’s hodgepodge of action sequences “borrows” elements from many previous films. (Is it plagiarism, homage, or parody? You make the call.) Frankenstein, Dracula, and Wolf Man movie references are to be expected-indeed, the opening sequence comprises near-recreations (in black and white!) of the climactic scenes in Universal’s 1931 movie “Frankenstein” (“IT’S ALIVE!!”), followed by a scene akin to the climax of Hammer’s 1960 “The Brides of Dracula.” But there are other allusions made to outside the genre: Fans of the James Bond franchise will recognize one scene, and a certain action sequence replicates stunts from “Stagecoach” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” in quick succession.

Alas, taking scenes and inspiration wholesale from film classics and putting them in a blender does not make a classic film, as this movie ably proves. There are many spectacular set pieces and tense moments, but without character development or sensible plot mechanics (how can there be a full moon for three nights, then one night without, followed by another one?) the film is ultimately a shambles.

Some curious spiritual references are made throughout the film. Some are obvious, such as the presence of the Vatican and references to Satan, Purgatory and Hell. (In reality, Satan and Hell exist [Job 1; Zechariah 3; Matthew 4; Revelation 20; Matthew 5:22-29, 10:28; etc.] but Purgatory does not.) But there are other subtler points. For instance, it becomes clear that Van Helsing is over 1800 years old, and he is referred to at one point as “the left hand of God.” That his name is Gabriel may be meant to suggest that he is an angel, although this is never clearly stated. (There is an angel named Gabriel in Scripture [Daniel 8:16; 9:21; Luke 1:19, 26], who serves as a messenger and interpreter of God’s plans.) “Gabriel” means “strong man of God” or “young man of God,” but Van Helsing is not clearly a man of God. In fact, when asked if he is a murderer or a holy man, Van Helsing replies, “Perhaps a little of both.”

The film thus seems to want to blur the line between good and evil, but at other times it makes clear distinctions: Van Helsing says he can only kill what is evil and that he can “tell” if someone is motivated by evil, thereby clearly suggesting that evil exists and that it is an inward trait in some. (The Bible professes this, although more than just some are inwardly evil: Every person is a sinner [Romans 3:23], and this is an innate, inward trait: “Every inclination of his [man’s and woman’s] heart is evil from childhood” [Genesis 8:21; cf. Jeremiah 17:9].)

Dracula mocks God and Scripture in the movie, at one point saying, “Do unto others.before they do it to you.” This is a contradiction of Jesus’ teaching to “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31). To Jesus this “sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12), and thus represents the pithiest maxim for doing good. Of course, it is appropriate that a character in league with Satan would say what is opposite to what God calls good, since Satan is the “author of lies” (John 8:44) and attempts to lead “the whole world astray” (Revelation 12:9) with his lies.

Sadly, the movie does not treat God or the Bible with utmost respect. Once when Van Helsing and Carl are doing something that Carl suspects is sinful, Van Helsing says out-of-hand that “God will forgive us,” though he shows no sign of repentance for his action. The Bible assures people that God forgives those who repent and confess their sins: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).

Somewhat unexpectedly, a character that in part resembles godliness is Frankenstein’s Monster. Trapped beneath the ground for a year, he has been left with only a Bible to read, from which he once quotes part of Psalm 23-“Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil”-although he then veers from the text to say that he will kill all those who are doing evil to him. However, the character has a high regard for the sanctity of life, and although he has a strong desire to live he willingly offers his life in exchange for the preservation of others, and also puts himself in great peril to save another. Van Helsing, Anna, and Carl exhibit similar heroism.

This film is difficult to recommend, because it is so muddled and overly violent. However, it does present some potential points for discussion about the nature of good and evil and what people must do to be saved and go to heaven. And if you like amusement park rides.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Minor

Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive—“Van Helsing” is best described as a good summer movie. It is big on action, has a few big stars, and even works in some comedy. So, there, I liked it. I wanted to see it, I saw it, I could be persuaded to see it again in the future, and I am certain that I would enjoy it just as much. The action sequences really are amazing. They take their time to give us a great popcorn-movie fun. The special effects are good, but less than perfect. There were numerous times when I thought, “Uh… did they realize how that looked?” the acting is pretty good. Hugh Jackman is very likable, and Kate Beckinsale, well, she’s Kate Beckinsale. Not the greatest actress in the world, but a pretty face. The plot leaves much to be desired. the movie isn’t really concerned with it, and so while we get long action sequences, the movie only provides the standard drab in way of plot developments.

There is no enlightenment to be gained from this movie, and it was never intended and that’s fine. Not every movie can be “Citizen Kane” and, well, this one never tries to be. Okay then. I had one major objection about the movie, one that I normally would merely accept. I am all for women looking good. There are many beautful women in this world, and we can appreciate them without lusting. But I did have a problem with Kate Beckinsale’s outfit. I found it a little degrading to women. Her pants made spandex look loose, is the best way I can describe it. And the vampire brides were just so overtly sexual for no purpose but to be sexual, and that I did not like. more »
My Ratings: [Better than Average/3½]
—Jason Eaken, age 20
Positive—This film is the movie equivalent of a roller coaster ride; it’s not anything to take serious, but it’s a lot of fun nonetheless. The rating for it, PG-13, is very appropriate in that the images of the monsters, the cartoon violence, etc. would be too intense for most pre-teens, but should be well within what most 13 year olds and up can handle. Van Helsing is a monster hunter working for the Catholic Church to protect the world from supernatural monsters. He knows that the creatures he kills are those that would prey on normal men and women, so he does kill them, but he is shown as abhoring the necessity of doing so.

In fact, and I thought this was a strong point in this movies favor from a Christian point of view, Van Helsing is regularly and clearly shown praying for the very monsters he has been called upon to destroy. He is also shown as being willing to die to protect the Frankenstein Monster once he realizes that the creature is not evil, and is actually good hearted, despite his inhuman appearance. Self sacrifice is also constantly shown on the part of the good guys as they frequently risk their own lives in order to save the lives of others; including people they don’t even know. I thought it was a very good film.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/5]
—Eddie Hodges, age 47
Positive—I saw this film on its premiere weekend, and I was absolutely blown away! I think most people’s problem with the film is that they are taking it WAY too seriously. This film is a SUPPOSED to be an over-the-top fantasy/action thrill ride! Also, the acting was great and I thought there was very good character development. Van Helsing and Anna played off of each other very well and Carl and Igor were perfect foil characters! (Not to mention Carl and I share the same name. I have to admit I liked that, too!) In addition, Frankenstein’s monster was a great show-stealer.

As for Dracula and his brides… well, yes they are absolute evil incarnate. But isn’t that what vampires are supposed to be? It’s not like they were portrayed in a positive light! They were great villains that you just love to cheer against. So in the end, I thought this film was awesome. Take some non-squeamish friends, bring your popcorn and soda and have a great time with it!
My Ratings: [Better than Average/5]
—Carl, age 20
Neutral—Van Helsing is the biggest and most insanely enjoyable romp since Jack Sparrow sauntered into Port Royal. Like every film it has its flaws, but they’re forgivable in the light of the fabulous time you’ll have slaying vampires. The humor was pretty much lost on the audience I was with, but I found it extremely funny. It helps keep the tone light for what could have been a very dark, morbid movie. The script isn’t as brilliant as it could have been but holds up well. The action scenes are well put together, flashing back and forth between various characters in peril. What’s also nice is that it avoids clichés and doesn’t get raunchy.

***SPOILER*** It is implied that Brother Carl forsakes his vow of chastity. If the same grotesque imagery of the director’s past films (The Mummy) does not bother you, and you can handle a story with a hearty emphasis on vampires, Van Helsing is a ton of fun. It’s not going to win any original screenplay awards, but it’s fast, funny, and just the kind of popcorn movie that you walk out of smiling.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/4]
Charity Bishop, age 21
Negative—There are only two good things about this film. One is Hugh Jackman and the other one is that this is a good film. However, since the bad parts outweigh the good, I cannot give this a neutral rating. There’s no sex in the film, however, it is implied. This film distorts Biblical Christianity in several places. Kate Beckinsdale’s character wears an extremely revealing costume that made me uncomfortable. If you’re looking for an action-packed adventure movie, go see it, but don’t expect to be spiritually uplifted.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive/4]
—Shannon Hammell, age 22
Negative—This movie, although produced fairly well, was a disappointment. The film focuses on death, sin and false teachings. The characters are in provocative apparel and the Lord’s name is used vainly numerous times. I would not recommend this movie. Miracle, however, is a great one!
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive/3½]
—Laurie, age 24
Negative—I found this movie to be very gruesome and violent. It most definitely should only be seen by adults and very mature teens. It used God’s name in vain several times, and the “brides” of Dracula dress very unmodestly. There was a fight between good and evil, but it mocked the Bible in several places. This is not a movie I would recommend.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive/3]
—Erika, age 18
Comments from young people
Negative—Van Helsing is one of the worst movies I’ve seen in years. Nothing about it was good. It was boring, impossible, unoriginal and badly acted.
My Ratings: [Average/1]
—Dennis Morency, age 15
Negative—From a Christian viewpoint this film contained some objectional scenes. For example, a scene involving a friar. There is a lot of violence but it is against monsters, not people. There are also a few scary moments which are probably not suitable for people under 12. From a movie viewpoint, the film is terrible. The script is awful and the acting is pretty poor. The effects are good but more money should have been spent on the script. I am sure there are much better films out there which are also much more pleasing to followers of Christ.
My Ratings: [Average/1½]
—Scott, age 15
Positive—Not much story, not much fun? No way! This is NOT the best horror movie (I wasn’t scared one bit), but a pretty fun action flick. Some slutty vampires, some gory violence, and some implied sexuality, should keep your kids away from it.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive/3]
—Caleb, age 14
Positive—This film has amazing special effects. The acting is nothing to brag about, but is by no means bad. Hugh Jackman has a respectable performance, as does Kate Beckinsale. The only objectionable thing in this movie is the violence: Dracula and his wives get stabbed by a spike and Mr. Hyde has his arm chopped off (CG). There is implied sex, but only to a very minor degree. This movie is frightening so don’t bring kids under 12. Hire a baby-sitter and please don’t take your 5-year-old: they scream! All in all this is a well-made movie and I DO recommend it!
My Ratings: [Average/3½]
—Mike, age 16
Neutral—I both liked and disliked this film. The character of Van Helsing, in my opinion, was very well done. While, as repeatedly mentioned by previous reviews, it is somewhat offensive to Christians, it takes a Christian to get several points of the movie. I am non-Christian, but I went with a Christian friend, and she had to explain to me references to the “left hand of God” and the meaningfulness of Van Helsing being Gabriel. The best parts of this movie were in the begining (minus the black and white sequence), up to the part where Carl and Van Helsing made it to Transylvania. Carl and Van Helsing also happen to be my favorite characters in the movie, and maybe because I am not Christian I found Carl to be really rather hilarious. I disliked Anna’s actress, and her brother’s actor. While I mostly liked the brides of Dracula character-wise, they over-acted, very badly, often. The same with Dracula—he had several cheesy parts. The script could have been better, a few people could have been cast better, but the movie, especially Van Helsing’s character and most of the plot, were very enjoyable. Good movie if you like the genre and can handle a few somewhat disgusting visuals and a bit of violence.
My Ratings: [Average/3]
—Samma, age 16
Positive—This is an excellent movie. It has amazing graphics and a storyline that keeps you on the edge of your seat. There are some offensive themes in the movie, such as the friar (I can’t give away the story though… sorry). The fight scenes are so incredible, but I have to say, the movie was quite hilarious. I know it was not intended to be hilarious, but some parts just didn’t make any sense whatsoever… such as when the werewolf jumps on the carriage and it spontaneously bursts into flame… anyway… Overall, it is very good for all ages, in my opinion. Go see it… it is a must see summer film!
My Ratings: [Average/5]
—Jimmy, age 15
Neutral—I went to see Van Helsing on my birthday a week ago and loved it so much I went again the next day. Now I wouldn’t say it’s a biblical movie, but in a few parts the Frankenstein monster quotes some Bible verses when he’s in trouble.I wouldn’t recommend this movie to younger kids or people who get nightmares but if you love a good Action/Horror film you will enjoy this film.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive/3½]
—Cole M., age 13
Positive—I agree very much with whoever wrote the review above (the 15 year old one). It had outstanding special effects and a good storyline. But many things didn’t make sense. Why didn’t the vampiresses ever kill the girl? Stuff that made no sense. It talks positively about God from the beginning, this is another good thing. There is one seen of implied sex. But it shows absolutley nothing. I don’t think their is any reason why this couldn’t be viewed by anyone with a love for action films.
My Ratings: [Average/4½]
—W.S.B., age 13
Positive—…a very well done film… it had some amazing action sequences, CGI and a kind of good storyline. It basically follows a few legends like Frankenstein and Dracula. This movie refers to Christianity in someways that are not very good. I recommend this movie for an adult audience of over 17. Definitely don’t take you kids to see this one—very scary and violent.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive/4]
— Dylan Hoggard, age 12
Negative—I would “definitley” not recommend this for anyone mainly under the age of 13. This movie has a lot of action that may scare young children, even though there isn’t really bloody. The thing that really got me mad about this movie was its talk about vampires. The main point of it was some guy goes around and kills people and now must kill this vampire to save this families generation from going to heaven. Now I say, it is not only the vampires, but also the point of the generation will not be able to go to heaven without killing this vampire. I say this movie does not influence Christian beliefs for its talk of vampires and spells. I would also warn you from letting little children see it from the violence if you were to see it.
My Ratings: [Average/3]
—Stacy, age 14
Positive—I thought it was an excellent film. Superb acting, with a pretty good story line. It’s not simple coming up with a script that contains 3 separate legendary creatures, including the hero (Van Helsing) who is also a legendary character, and making it all fit. The gore wasn’t all that bad, besides it’s not like they could have taken it out. That’s like asking if they could just imply that Jesus was being beaten instead of showing it in The Passion. You don’t get the same effect. It’s worth it to see good triumph over evil.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/5]
—Krystal Rose, age 15
Positive—I went and saw this movie with my older brother (my mom wasn’t too interested). We both thought it was loads of fun. Although, there is a huge amount of vampire doings… They dwell on vampires with long fangs. You even see a vampire drinking blood from a glass after just killing one of her victims. If you have problems with watching vampires attack people, then I wouldn’t suggest seeing this movie. If you just watch it for fun, and don’t take it seriously, then you should enjoy it very much.
My Ratings: [Average/4]
—David, age 15
Positive—I think the biggest problem with you people is that you focus too much on the bad, not the good. All the negative reviews I’ve read say that it focuses too much on the violence. Well, you focus too much on the bad stuff in films and not enough on the good. I did what the other kid did, focused on the good. Carl did use his position as a Friar and not a Monk a bit more than per usual, but he did make sure that the movie had some comic relief. If a film has no humor, that it cannot be real. No ones life is completely serious—my life has a little bit of humor in it, even if it in general it isn’t humorous. Come on, even Jesus and his followers had to have uttered at least one or two funny lines in his life!

The actors and actresses were spectacular. Hugh Jackman was wonderful, as per usual, and Richard Roxburgh WAS Dracula practically. Kate Beckinsale and David Wenham did exceptional performances as well. And Silvia Collaca, Josie Maran, and Elena Anaya were wonderful as Dracula’s brides, if not a bit too, uh, suggestive.

Frankenstein’s Monster really wasn’t the monster—despite being created from the parts of seven men, he still had a heart and he uttered a verse from the Bible when he was in trouble, showing faith. And doesn’t everyone say that God redeems everyone if they ask for it? Frankenstein’s monster didn’t even do anything wrong! It’s not exactly his fault if he was created the way he was, is it? More likely Victor Frankenstein and Dracula’s, if you ask me.

…this film is very funny, very adventurous, and has lots of action, and that God is mentioned in nothing but good light from the very start. There! Finished!
My Ratings: [Better than Average/4½]
—Jean, age 13
Positive—This movie was awesome!! I would also have to agree with the fact that there were many inappropriate themes. There was a scene where it showed a guy’s butt, but it was totally computer generated… I would highly recommend this movie to anyone over the age of 13-15. I thought Carl, one of the characters in the film, was absolutely hilarious!! There was no profanity except for some usage of the Lord’s name in vain, d*mn, and h*ll. However, there was quite a bit of violence and gore. This movie overall, was GREAT!!…
My Ratings: [Very Offensive/5]
—Patrick Burton, age 10
Positive—A pretty good movie, not as good as I expected. It was fun to see all the different things he could use, but he didn’t use them enough… A fun movie to watch. Its fun to see all the old monsters brought into one film. The special effects were good, just overdone. overall it was a movie worth going to theaters for.
My Ratings: [Average/3]
—Daniel Robison, age 15
Positive—If I had to describe this film with one word, I know what it would be: YEEHAW! This movie is a blast! Yes, it could have been less gory and, yes, the brides of Dracula and Anna could have been more modestly dressed, but the movie doesn’t dwell on that. My dad is a pastor, and we both agreed this movie is a lot of fun. And instead of focusing on its weaknesses, I like to focus on the christian(yes, christian!) strengths.

Let’s review: Gabrial Van Helsing is a Catholic and, unlike many movie characters, this has an effect on his life (he only kills evil things, and even then he prays for them, and he does not indulge in sexual sin with his girlfriend).

Frankenstien’s monster repeats psalm’s 23. The movie is just plain fun. Van Helsing is who every boy wants to be like. Friar Carl supplies the best comic relief since Pippen in Lord of the Rings. I like the blend between classic and modern filming (the black-and-white beginning is a nice touch). The world the characters inhabit is beautiful. This movie is a roller coaster ride. It makes its own rules, and I was happy to play by them. I expected it to be much more offensive than it was. I would still only recommend it to kids 13 and up, though. It is quite violent. That aside, though and you have one fun, amazing movie. I was smiling through most of it. YEEHAW!
My Ratings: [Average/5]
—J. Leventhal, age 14
Positive—I LOVED IT! I agree with that other guy Carl said above (in the adult section). People do take this too seriously. It’s just meant to be a fun, fantasy film that really gets your imagination going.

I mean, come on, what film isn’t slightly objectional? I saw parts of The Passion, and it has a lot more violence and gore than Van Helsing. It *did* focus a lot on the stabbing of steaks, but it does have humor and a lot of action, so it’s not bad. Really, what’s wrong with all of you who rated this negative? The lowest you can get on the rating (opinion wise) is Neutral, because I can understand that. I noticed that the Lord’s name is used in vain at least eight times (I wasn’t really paying attention, but it was kind of noticeable about the third time or so). And the fangs and steaks and silver bullets were kind of focused on a little more than necessary. We got the picture pretty good—THEY DIED! Overall, however, I have to say it’s the best action film I’ve ever seen. I’ll watch it again any day!

Richard Roxburgh was award-winning as Dracula, Hugh Jackman made the best Van Helsing there ever was and will be, Kate Beckinsale was phenomenal as Anna Valerius, and David Wenham was hilarious as Carl. Quite frankly, it was brilliant. CGI was incredible in this—all though I didn’t think so until after I saw it for the second time—and the stunts, action, and acting was spectacular! Definitely a must-see action film.

There was a few profanities, d*mn and H*ll being almost all of them. Sex was implied, but it didn’t show anything, and there was an amusing scene where-oops, don’t want to give it away!…
My Ratings: [Better than Average/4½]
—Cassie B., age 11
Movie Critics
…a constant gush of violence that skirts the edges of an R rating, plus lusty pseudo-lesbian vampires and a dumbed-down theological mishmash…
—Loren Eaton, Plugged In
…Monster wit, merry mayhem add up to campy adventure… goes over the top in all the right ways…
—Margaret A. McGurk, The Cincinnati Enquirer
…at its best, a big tongue-in-cheek extravaganza…
—Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune
…the idea is every bit as dumb as the execution… assemble an all-star team of monsters… non-stop, creature-bashing fun—the kind where the editing is frantically choppy, …and the action is so cluttered as to seem incoherent…
—Rick Groen, The Globe and Mail
…this creature feature is exhilarating fun, a richly designed and often quite funny re-exploration of the movie past…
—Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter
…Van Helsing” has more beasties than “Monsters, Inc.”… It plays as silly as it sounds, but it looks good doing it…
—Duane Dudek, The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
…a decent story of good against evil, but objectionable language, violence and an implied sexual encounter earn it negative acceptability marks…
—Shaun Daugherty, Preview Family Movie and TV Review