As we enter this festive season, let us think about the one element of winter that people either love or hate… the cold. With this in mind, let us think about Transylvania circa 1887 during the time of Doctor Frankenstein…

There are many Frankenstein films out there and there are many vampire films out there, but bring them together and you have ‘Van Helsing’.  You may be familiar with the original Frankenstein novel by Mary Shelley; if you are then you will need a quick introduction into how exactly Van Helsing fits in. If you, however, are familiar to Bram Stoker’s novel ‘Dracula’ then you probably don’t.  This summary is for those who need to be caught up.  Doctor Frankenstein and his assistants Igor and Count Dracula work together to create a life using body parts from the deceased, this life created is known as the Monster.  Dracula turns evil, betrays Frankenstein and kills him, resulting in the Monster to flee and be chased down by a murderous mob.  Dracula mourns the loss of the Monster he helped create, and is not brought to justice…yet.

One year later, Van Helsing is enlisted to track down and kill Dracula. His journey takes him throughout the cold, snowy climates of the Romanian mountains where he encounters other vampires, werewolves, Dracula’s brides, and even the Devil trying to bring down Dracula.  Of course, when you play with fire, you get burned, and Van Helsing discovers this the hard way.

When this film first came out, it was met with a largely negative reception, even though it starred Hugh Jackman.  This film was released after the hype of ‘X-Men’ and ‘X2’; therefore everyone had Wolverine in mind so it was hard for anyone to see Hugh as anyone apart from Wolverine.  In 2013, Hugh has blossomed into one of the finest actors of our generation in some of the finest films of our generation including ‘Les Miserables’ and ‘The Prestige’.

‘Van Helsing’ is an entertaining film starring Hugh Jackman, Kate Beckinsale and David Wenham. It would certainly be one to watch with some friends, just don’t expect anything like ‘Les Mis’.  Though the scenery, the music and the costumes are well done, so whilst you watch, watch/listen out for those, they are pretty good.  If you’re after a film that will take your mind off the holiday season, ‘Van Helsing’ might be the film to try…