By Dalton Ross
September 06, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT

Vampires — can’t live with ’em, can’t kill ’em… unless you’re packing some garlic and holy water. This week, two new films about people with pointy teeth are out to suck your blood (not to mention your wallet) as they make their way to video and DVD. Whether you should invite them into your home is another matter.

The plot of Blade II (half-vampire Wesley Snipes joins bad vampires to fight supervampires) isn’t gonna win any awards, but what else would you expect when the film’s signature moment involves Snipes putting on his sunglasses. Director Guillermo del Toro is more concerned with showing teenage boys stuff that looks really, really cool and in that respect, Blade II achieves what it sets out to do. It isn’t Nosferatu (heck, it isn’t even Blacula), but at least it’s not the bloody mess that is Queen of the Damned, the Anne Rice adaptation about a vampire (Stuart Townsend) who wants to rock. (Seriously, that’s pretty much the whole story.) Throw in some mystical mumbo jumbo about a mother of all evil (Aaliyah, who in her final role is reduced to such silly lines as ”You’re bold, like your music”) and you have yourself a vamp film that truly does bite.

WHAT WE SAID THEN: ”[Blade II] seems equally influenced by videogames and open-heart surgery. (#646, March 29, 2002) B- — Owen Gleiberman

”[Damned’s director] doesn’t conjure proper respect for followers of the whole dead-undead genre…” (#643, March 8, 2002)