Metascore
35

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 38
  2. Negative: 16 out of 38
  1. This creature feature is exhilarating fun, a richly designed and often quite funny re-exploration of the movie past.
  2. This beast is as subtle as a Red Bull enema, but it succeeds magnificently as compulsively watchable spectacle.
  3. 75
    Silly and spectacular, and fun.
  4. A movie that's underwritten, overdirected, overproduced and almost constantly over-the-top. But it's also, at its best, a big tongue-in-cheek extravaganza.
  5. 63
    For all its tangle of characters and plot twists, Van Helsing isn't the slightest bit involving, and more than once (especially whenever Beckinsale is onscreen), it is unintentionally hilarious. But it's the rare kind of movie where the badness just adds to the fun.
  6. 63
    There is fun to be had at Van Helsing, but it requires considerable suspension of disbelief at the apparently deliberately ridiculous plot necessary to bring the three monsters together.
  7. Reviewed by: Sharon Allen Burke
    63
    Horror classicists may be upset at his tampering with monster mythologies, but everyone else will just be going along for the ride, and they’ll have a terrific time.
  8. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    60
    The sense of evil overkill is entirely representative of the picture itself, which repeatedly looks ready to blow all its fuses due to sensory overload.
  9. Old monster movies were thrilling in a way that mingled terror, sexuality and a real preference for the monsters over their tormentors. Van Helsing is a kiddie adventure on an endless, meaningless loop.
  10. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    50
    The dashing Jackman plays his part well enough, but the script doesn't provide sufficient "Indiana Jones"-style bons mots to win us over.
  11. Universal Studios has unloaded its entire monster catalog in this movie, which is aimed at people with the attention span of a kindergartner. Shreds of coherence and character have been sacrificed to fangs and fisticuffs at every chance.
  12. 50
    A hokey monster mish-mash that plunders the richly textured histories of Dracula, the Wolfman and Frankenstein's monster.
  13. Kind of like a basketball team of all-stars -- no names, please -- that has difficulty jelling into one smooth and efficient unit.
  14. Despite the rococo obsessiveness of its special effects and its voracious sampling of past horror movies, Van Helsing is mostly content to offer warmed-over allusions and secondhand thrills.
  15. The effect for viewers is that of having inserted one's head in a kettledrum that is being pounded on by drunken monkeys.
  16. Reviewed by: Karen Karbo
    42
    If an eardrum-damaging score and people getting routinely slammed into stone walls at a 100 miles an hour without so much as chipping a tooth is your idea of a good time, then Van Helsing won't disappoint.
  17. Reviewed by: Ian Freer
    40
    The result reaches overload very quickly, squandering the potentially cool premise in a headlong assault of set-piece over story.
  18. 40
    Van Helsing is simply far too much of a good thing, and although Hensley's Frankenstein Monster comes off better than anyone else, the film suffers from some truly inane dialogue and pacing that will likely cause tachycardia in members of the audience old enough to recall who Dwight Frye was.
  19. 40
    Van Helsing wears its price tag on its ruffled lamé sleeve. And yet it gives off an aura of what I can only call lavish cheapness.
  20. 40
    It's all cliffhangers, with no downtime in between.
  21. 40
    The horror flick, at its height, was a lyrical caressing of our fears; by the end of this nonsense, you fear for the well-being of the genre. “It’s dead!” [24 May 2004, p. 96]
  22. Instead of paying homage to these creepy creatures of bygone Hollywood, Sommers seems to be unwittingly lampooning them. The first few minutes of Van Helsing, shot in black and white, look like outtakes from Mel Brooks' gagfest "Young Frankenstein."
  23. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    38
    We haven't had a good Frankenstein, Dracula, or Wolf Man movie in a long time, so here's one where the whole gang shows up. One catch: It's not good.
  24. 38
    The biggest crime of Van Helsing is that it resurrects classic monsters and fails to make them scary. With a full 132 minutes of feeble jokes and gimcrack phantasmagoria, it's not spine-tingling - it's butt-numbing.
  25. Van Helsing, a fusion of eye candy and brain sputter, is a long, kinetic, yet dreary mess.
  26. Reviewed by: Ed Park
    30
    In Van Helsing, the orgy of morphing, shrieking, lightning-cracking, and habitual rope-swinging quickly turns oppressive.
  27. A special-effects extravaganza that uses the barest of excuses to bring these characters together.
  28. 30
    The road of excess leads to the palace of boredom in this overblown monster epic.
  29. 25
    Here's a shrieking bore of a horror flick.
  30. In sum, Van Helsing is yet another video game disguised as a wide-screen epic. Here's hoping the box office drives a firm wooden stake through its hokey Hollywood heart.
  31. To be fair, the movie is nothing if not consistent -- the idea is every bit as dumb as the execution.
  32. Reviewed by: Pete Vonder Haar
    20
    Sommers suspends the laws of time and physics and forces his characters to spout some of the cheesiest dialogue imaginable.
  33. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    20
    You have to feel for the army of talented FX people who must have spent months on scenes--trying to compensate, with their artistry, for the lack of dramatic logic--and having to listen to those lines over and over.
  34. 12
    There are quite a few unintentionally funny moments, although the overall experience was too intensely painful for me to be able to advocate it as being "so bad, it's good."
  35. 10
    A work of staggering stupidity.
  36. Sommers film just lies there, weighted down by a complete lack of wit, artfulness and internal logic. So it's a disaster -- a big, loud, boring wreck.
  37. Nothing's alive in this trash-heap travesty of warm-weather entertainment, despite the frenetic pace.
User Score
5.6

Mixed or average reviews- based on 233 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 53 out of 126
  2. Negative: 51 out of 126
  1. Apr 20, 2014
    10
    Wow. I can't describe how much i'm disappointed. How can you not like this movie? And that's why we don't get good movies nowadays. PeopleWow. I can't describe how much i'm disappointed. How can you not like this movie? And that's why we don't get good movies nowadays. People don't even have a good taste! This movie is awesome. Amazing storyline, seriously.. A monster hunter? EPIC. I mean, who doesn't like it? It's so good! The werewolves are incredible, the best ones I've EVER seen in a movie. And the vampires? Van Helsing is probably the only movie that shows vampires how they really are: monsters. But sure, people now prefer "vampires" who shine like fairies at the sun! Is that even a vampire? Oh right, no. And the werewolves? Nowadays are simply wolves. Van Helsing recreates it as a completely beast, which is what they are! And the CGI? It too damn good! It was 8 years ago and it is still way better than most of the movies we get now! Just.. argh. Seems like people don't know what are good movies. Today, people prefer vampires who fall in love with humans and it's all a big teenager drama than really good stories who give a message. The world is lost. Such a good storyline, such good characters and actors. The CGI is very good and.. then there's the public who actually sucks. Van Helsing is a really good movie. Full Review »
  2. Jun 16, 2013
    7
    I'm really baffled at the hateful negative response to this film. No it's not Oscar material, it's just good campy fun. If you're a fan of oldI'm really baffled at the hateful negative response to this film. No it's not Oscar material, it's just good campy fun. If you're a fan of old monster movies, James Bond and Indiana Jones flicks, and over-the-top humor in an action/horror movie, then you get it. I guess if you're looking for a summer action flick that takes itself too seriously, then you're out of luck with this one.

    I admit that the film runs a little to long, the chemistry between Beckinsale and Jackman leaves something to be desired, and the Frankenstein "monster" (though well-intentioned to give a nod to "Young Frankenstein") is really annoying. But the entertainment spawning from the hokey fun that "Van Helsing" is all about, makes these flaws so forgivable.

    For me, I'll take the over-acting screaming Brides of Dracula, the silly homages to dozens of classic action and horror movies, the cheesy one-liners, and the not-so-convincing special effects. Isn't that what monster movies are all about?
    Full Review »
  3. Dec 6, 2011
    5
    Van Helsing just about works as a film if you don't take it too seriously. It's a fun fantasy romp with numerous references to 30s and 40sVan Helsing just about works as a film if you don't take it too seriously. It's a fun fantasy romp with numerous references to 30s and 40s Universal horror films. It does have some awful dialogue (it's written and directed by Stephen Sommers, and as with The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, he proves himself much more talented in directing ballsy action sequences than bringing profound vocal utterances to the big screen). It also has some awful performances from its cast (the chief culprit being a laughable, bad Eastern European-accented Kate Beckinsale, but a fairly wooden and inconsistent Hugh Jackman in the title role doesn't fair much better) and the plot is an ugly mess - rather than a glowing tribute to classic horror filmmaking it's a ridiculous throw-everything-but-the-kitchen-sink affair. Despite these glaring issues, Van Helsing could never be called boring. Yes, it might be a bit too long, but the film boasts some fantastic effects (I personally feel that the werewolves featured in the film are the finest in movie history) and the action scenes are handled well - though each set-piece is quite long, the momentum is never lost. You also have a liberal dose of humour and a standout performance in Richard Roxburgh's Count Dracula. Yes, he's hammy, but in a knowing sort of way, and he's a much better actor than Bela Lugosi ever was, and, perhaps most importantly, he appears to be having so much fun with the role. Van Helsing is completely hilarious if it's taken completely seriously, but if you're willing to suspend your disbelief, ignore its more wobbly aspects, it's quite possible to derive a certain amount of perverse pleasure from such a genuinely entertaining film. Full Review »