Directed by Gary Shore
In this origin story we learn how Dracula (Luke Evans) came to be and the events and difficult choices that took him down his dark path.
Luke Evans is a king trying to defend his people and his family from the all too human monsters that are coming and so he becomes a monster too. The Turks have returned and are demanding 1000 children as tribute for Sultan Mehmed II’s (Dominic Cooper) Janissary corps. Evans turns this horror icon from a bloodthirsty killer into a father desperately trying to protect his own son as well as the children of his people. Drac gets a little rehab here.
Charles Dance is the Master Vampire with whom Vlad cuts a devil’s bargain. That man can do no wrong as villains in my opinion. I admit to having never seen a full episode of Game of Thrones, but he has done so much else that it is almost unnecessary. He is so delicious as a villain but in real life appears to be a pleasant guy. Those people always play the best villains.
The story is less a horror and more an action adventure with some horror elements. The only part you really get a chill with is with Vlad in the cave. And that is done with mostly the acting and little with the special effects.
They do not skimp on the battle scenes. The costumes are detailed, and the action is frenetic with cool framing as well as being very stylized. This is an action adventure film and not a horror movie. I am sad it did not do better and spawn a sequel or two. I am curious how they could top what they had here.
They put in a solid script here. Each character stands on their own. Nothing is wasted and the characters and the events contribute to the overall story. I really thought that a priest they introduced early on in the film would cause needless/annoying problems to just slow up the story but even he isn’t an issue. Correction, he does cause some difficulty, but his purpose is not to work against the main character just because.
The script has some (and I stress SOME) basis in historical fact. It is just enough to make the events of the film believable. The events that occurred in the real world serve as a steppingstone for the fantasy/horror elements presented in the movie.
Dracula Untold is not a bad film and I really wish more movies did follow. I really would have liked to see what became of the plot to take on the demon and what happened after Vlad encounters his reincarnated(?) wife. This was an obvious setup for another film and given what they did here the events of that movie should it have been made would not have followed the book too closely. More likely it would been like the Underworld films than actual horror or an interpretation of the original novel.
This is a good film and it deserves a second look or even a first one. It is not strong horror but that does not make it any less enjoyable. I think people just like to talk smack and hate and that was its downfall.