October 15, 2014

Dracula Untold

Movie Review

Luke Evans

If Hollywood has done anything, it has prepared audiences for underwhelming vampire movies and disappointing Draculas. This retcon of the Dracula mythos unfortunately recasts the world’s most famous vampire as a straight, white hat. A ruthless, retired warrior, Vlad Tepes (Luke Evans), simply wants to spend time with his wife, Mirena (Sarah Gadon) and son, Ingeras (Art Parkinson), but his old pal, Turkish Emperor Mehmed (a really unmenacing Dominic Cooper), demands tribute and 1,000 boys, including Ingeras, and causes Vlad to seek more power. 

Luckily (I guess), a master vampire (Charles Dance, really sinking his teeth into his two-and-a-half scenes) roosts in a nearby cave and generously bestows on Vlad a three-day trial of his vampiric powers. All Vlad has to do to keep them is give in to the temptation to drink human blood. 

Dracula Untold’s decision to recast this classic villain as a hero really sinks the movie. Its horror origins simply hide an excuse to make a period action movie a la 300. Even the Underworlds have more horror than this flick. Evans deserves increased stardom, and he excels as warrior papa Vlad. However, his penultimate sexy vamp Drac is unconvincing, especially with the movie threatening a franchise. 

Fortunately, the further adventures of thoroughly modern Dracula promise more Dance. If one seeks a lesser seen Dracula for October viewing pleasure, check out John Badham’s underrated 1979 adaptation of the play, Jack Palance’s 1974 TV turn in “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (not to be confused with Francis Ford Coppola’s stately, sexy 1992 version) or one of Hammer’s multiple Drac-pics. Much better bloodsucking is out there.