Dracula Untold, directed by Gary Shore, is an attempted reboot at a classic, iconic character in the horror genre. The movie is about Vlad Tepes, prince of Transylvania, who seeks to protect his kingdom and family from the Turks. The sultan of Turkey has demanded one thousand young boys for his army and seeks to acquire them from Vlad’s kingdom. Now Vlad (Luke Evans) seeks a form of power that can concur the Turks and as a result turns to the darkness. When he acquires this power, he now faces the challenge of destroying his enemies while the darkness attempts to consume him.
I am not familiar with the horror genre and its classic, iconic characters, but the movie filled me in on what I needed to know. With that said, that the plot was okay and straightforward. I was never confused or felt lost in the plot. There were moments in the movie where there were really nice visuals depicting Vlad’s new powers. The film does a good job of keeping you informed without overcomplicating things.
Having said all this, there are some weaknesses in this film. Since I don’t know a lot about the history of Vlad Tepes or about Dracula I will base the rest of what I have to say on reception this movie received from mainstream critics and comparing that to what I saw in the movie. Despite the movie being straightforward and easy to follow along, one thing I noticed is that this movie doesn’t honor the character of Dracula. While this movie is classified in the horror genre, the movie juggles between being a true horror movie and an action movie. Dracula Untold doesn’t quite know which side it wants to take. This movie tries to borrow some modern filmmaking techniques from other genres to gain wider audience appeal, such as the use of more CGI to boast better visuals. It felt like this movie was trying to be a big scale action movie when the genre doesn’t necessarily call for it.
A personal note I have to make concerns the negative qualities of the plot. I did say it was straightforward and easy to follow along, but it’s also because of this that the movie doesn’t present a real challenge to build on character. I feel like the struggle that Vlad had to deal with was very basic that he stayed true to himself so easily while fighting the darkness that came with this power. My guess is this is one of the factors that play into fans of Dracula as a character not being happy with how he was portrayed in the movie. Vlad accepting the darkness so easily while also being able to keep a noble heart and conscience just as easily makes it feel like the character doesn’t have a huge struggle throughout the movie. On top of that there was a point in the movie where it seemed like the plot seemed predictable. I won’t say what point so as not to spoil the movie. One more thing to note is that this movie was meant to jumpstart a monsters universe helmed by Universal. Whether that played a part in how this movie turned out is up for debate.
Dracula Untold Verdict
Overall while Dracula Untold is an entertaining movie it does fall short in a few areas that cost the movie as a whole. If you’re a big fan of the character of Dracula in past media and literary interpretations then this may not be the movie for you. If you’re looking for popcorn action/action horror flick or are looking forward to how Dracula is portrayed in this movie then see it while it’s still in theaters.