The third video game film adaptation by Boll, who previously made the films based on House of the Dead and Alone in the Dark, BloodRayne received extremely negative reviews upon release and was a box office bomb, grossing only $3.7 million from a $25 million budget. The film was also disliked by co-star Madsen and voice of Rayne from the games themselves, Laura Bailey.
The film centers on the character of Rayne, an unholy breed of human and vampire called a Dhampir. Dhampir are unaffected by crucifixes and do not thirst for human blood. She is the daughter of the Vampire King Kagan who has gathered an army of thralls, both vampire and human, in order to annihilate the human race. She was conceived when Kagan raped her mother, and she later witnessed him killing her.
Sebastian, Vladimir, and Katarin are three members of the Brimstone Society, who fight vampires. They hear of a carnival freak who may be a Dhampir, so Vladimir plans to recruit her in order to kill Kagan. Kagan is also hunting for her, fearing she will interfere with his plans. Rayne escapes captivity at the carnival. On the road, she encounters and saves a family being attacked by vampires. A fortune teller reveals to Rayne that Kagan has become the most powerful vampire in the land and resides in a well-protected castle. She tells Rayne that Kagan seeks an ancient talisman, a mystical eye, and if she finds it, it would allow her to gain an audience with Kagan. Rayne sets out to the monastery to find it.
Rayne shelters for the night at the monastery and later sneaks away to where the talisman is guarded by a hammer-wielding, deformed monk. The talisman is further protected by booby traps, and when Rayne lifts it from its pedestal, the chamber floods with holy water. As Rayne hangs from the ceiling to avoid the water, the talisman falls from the box but she catches the eyeball. Examining it closely, the eye magically becomes absorbed into her own eye, and when she falls into the water she is somehow unaffected by it.
When she leaves the chamber, the monks explain the artifact is one of three body parts which came from an ancient vampire called Belial, who had found a way to overcome the weaknesses of a vampire. The eye overcomes holy water; the rib overcomes the cross; and the heart overcomes sunlight. The parts have been hidden across the lands. As Kagan wants all these parts, it becomes the heroes' mission to stop him.
Rayne is brought to the headquarters of the Brimstone society and they agree to work together to kill Kagan. Katarin does not trust Rayne and betrays Brimstone to her father, Elrich, who has fallen in league with Kagan, but seeks to betray him and gain power for himself. The location of the heart talisman is known to Katarin as her grandfather hid it in water-filled caves. She seeks it out but Rayne fights and kills her for it. With the talisman, Rayne attempts to gain an audience before Kagan, but he takes the heart and throws her in the dungeon. He plans to extract the eye as part of a ritual. He realizes too late Rayne had only given him an empty box and not the heart.
Sebastian and Vladimir intervene, battling Kagan and his minions, but both are fatally wounded, leaving Rayne in a final battle against Kagan. As Sebastian dies he fires a final bolt from his crossbow, but Kagan is too quick and is able to catch it. Rayne is able to summon her last reserves of strength and plunge the bolt into his heart. The battle ends. Rayne seats herself in Kagan's throne. The film ends when Rayne leaves the castle and goes to the mountains.Kristanna Loken as Rayne, a Dhampir.
Michael Madsen as Vladimir
Ben Kingsley as Kagan, King of Vampires
Michelle Rodriguez as Katarin
Matthew Davis as Sebastian
Will Sanderson as Domastir
Geraldine Chaplin as Fortune Teller
Udo Kier as Regal Monk
Meat Loaf as Leonid, a hedonistic vampire Lord
Michael Paré as Iancu
Billy Zane as Elrich. Father of Katarin. Has fallen in league with Kagan. Zane described it as a pleasure to work with such a decisive director.
Filming took place in Romania, in the Carpathian Mountains. Filming also took place in a castle where Prince Vlad the Impaler presumably spent a night once
On January 6, 2006, the film opened in 985 theaters across the United States. It was originally to have played at up to 2,500 theaters, but that number dropped to 1,600 and ended up lower due to prints being shipped to theaters that had not licensed the film.
Billy Zane was involved with distributor Romar Entertainment and Uwe Boll later sued him for revenue owed.
In its opening, the film only made US$1,550,000. The film ended up grossing US$3,591,980 (June 2006) on a budget of US$25 million.
BloodRayne was critically panned. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a rating of only 4%, meaning that out of 50 reviews only 2 were positive. The consensus reads: "BloodRayne is an absurd sword-and-sorcery vid-game adaptation from schlock-maestro Uwe Boll, featuring a distinguished (and slumming) cast." It was ranked 48th in Rotten Tomatoes's 100 worst reviewed films of the 2000s. Metacritic gave the film a score of 18% based on 13 reviews, summarizing the reviews as "overwhelming dislike".
Actor Michael Madsen called BloodRayne "an abomination... a horrifying and preposterous movie", but added that he enjoyed working with Boll and would certainly work with him again if asked. Laura Bailey, who was the voice of Rayne in the BloodRayne games, was asked at her panel at Anime Boston 2007 what her thoughts were on the film adaptation, and said "Oh God, that movie sucked. And that movie was so bad. I saw it on The Movie Channel and I couldn't even get through 20 minutes of it! It was so bad and it was kinda sad that they took that because I really liked the games."
Critics ridiculed Boll for hiring actual prostitutes instead of actors for a scene featuring Meat Loaf in order to save on production costs. Writer Guinevere Turner stated in the 2009 documentary Tales from the Script that when she turned in her first draft of the film's script two weeks late, rather than asking for redrafts Boll accepted it and then made many of his own changes; and he then asked the actors to "take a crack at it".
Some critics were more forgiving of the film. Berge Garabedian of JoBlo's movie reviews described as the film as "actually pretty decent…for what it is" namely a video game adaptation, with a "hot lead actress" in the form of Kristanna Loken, and number of surprisingly fun and bloody action sequences. He acknowledges the dialog is poor and the story lame but says the film is "not as bad as you’d suspect" and an adequate bloody low-budget vampire film. Steve Chupnick of the Latino Review gave the film a B rating, saying that although it was not a good film it was far from the worst he's seen and mentioned the Kristanna Loken nude scene as something in the films favor.
The film was nominated for six Golden Raspberry Awards including, Worst Picture, Worst Actress (Kristanna Loken), Worst Supporting Actor (Ben Kingsley), Worst Supporting Actress (Michelle Rodriguez), Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay. Bloodrayne did not win any, having been dominated by Basic Instinct 2 and Little Man with seven nominations each.
In 2009, Time listed the film #6 on their list of top ten worst video games movies.
The film was number one on GameTrailers countdown of the worst video game movies ever. The reviewers from GameTrailers said that "every actor is miscast, every wig is too fake, every sex scene is too inappropriate, and every action scene is too improvised."
In 2007, a sequel BloodRayne 2: Deliverance was made. Natassia Malthe replaced Loken in the lead role. Due to the poor box office of the first film, BloodRayne 2: Deliverance went direct-to-video instead. A third film, BloodRayne: The Third Reich was released in 2011. Malthe reprised her role as Rayne. Both sequels were directed by Uwe Boll. Michael Paré has appeared in all three films, but as different characters: Iancu, Pat Garrett, and Commandant Ekart Brand, respectively.
Before the DVD of this film was released, Boll removed the Romar name and logo from the credits and packaging of this film. As a result, Romar ceased distributing the film. Next to the R-rated version which was shown in cinemas, a more violent unrated director's cut which includes an extended ending was released on DVD. The director's cut DVD box set included a full copy of the BloodRayne 2 video game on the second DVD.