Film Review: Dracula Untold

This review was originally published in the Central Western Daily on Tuesday 14 October 2014.

The fundamental problem with this film from first time feature director Gary Shore is that for a tale about blood drinking creatures of the night, there is surprisingly little of the red stuff.

In a kiddie friendly reinterpretation of the Dracula origins story, Luke Evans (Fast & Furious 6, The Three Musketeers) stars as Vlad the Impaler. Sent as a child to the Turks to be a soldier, he gained a reputation as a fierce warrior (thus the nickname) and has now returned to his home of Transylvania to rule as a peace loving King (as you do).

The evil Turks now return demanding a new delivery of child soldiers (including the young prince) and desperate to save his people, Vlad sells his soul for three days to the Vampire King (a hammy Charles Dance). With the powers (and weaknesses) of a vampire, Vlad, now Dracula, must vanquish his enemies before he succumbs to “the thirst” which will render him a bloodsucker forever.

With the recent melee surrounding Ridley Scott’s upcoming epic Exodus: Gods and Kings and its controversial casting of a tanned Aussie Joel Edgerton as Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses, it is interesting that not a peep has been heard from the internet regarding Dracula Untold’s Turk leader Mehmed being played by the usually pasty UK actor Dominic Cooper. Imagine the furore when it is revealed that Welshman Luke Evans is also not actually a vampire. You’ve read it here first, folks.

Dracula Untold has plot holes to drive a truck through. Why would the Turks sacrifice hordes of soldiers in battle for a measly thousand child soldiers? The evil Mehmed seems to immediately recognise the need to use silver and wooden stakes against Vlad. How does he know this? Why would you pursue a child army when a vampire army would be potentially unstoppable? Why do the Transylvanians not become suspicious immediately after Vlad wipes out an army on his own?

Typical to this sort of film, most of the the action takes place in the dark, and I really had problems seeing what was happening, which is unusual for a 2D feature. I can say that I have seen Dracula Untold, but I can’t say that I saw Dracula Untold, if you catch my drift.

I’m not entirely sure why this film even has the word “Dracula” in its title. The characterisation and origins of this lead character were completely out of synch with my expectations. Sure, this is a reinterpretation but there has to be at least some tropes of a traditional fangastical Dracula tale to deserve the name.

It has been announced that Dracula Untold will be the first in a series of reboots to the Universal Monsters franchise. Let’s hope that the rumoured next in line, The Mummy, fares better than this pointless feature.

Dracula Untold typically ends with a strong hint that a sequel is in the work. Let’s hope not. This Dracula story should have remained untold.

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Published in: on October 19, 2014 at 12:42  Leave a Comment  
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