Review By: John Burrell Jr.
Release Date: October 10, 2014
Studio: Universal Pictures, Legendary Pictures
Director: Gary Shore
Screenwriter: Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless
Starring: Luke Evans, Sarah Gadon, Diarmaid Murtagh, Dominic Cooper, Samantha Barks
Genre: Action, Adventure
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of warfare, vampire attacks, disturbing images, and some sensuality)
The legend of Vlad the Impaler / Dracula has been around for awhile. There’s been multiple books, TV shows and films depicting the origin of the monster. Dracula Untold is another entry in to that pantheon. This time Vlad is depicted as a hero. A king with a monster like past that will do anything to save his people. When the Turkish army comes to take a thousand young boys to train as soldiers and request that Vlad give up his own son to the Turkish army he quickly slays the men and a war between Transylvania and the Turks starts. Knowing that his small country can’t withstand the might of the Turkish Sultan’s hordes he turns to a dark source of power. Now, with three days to use the power of the vampire can he stop his kingdom from being destroyed ? Will he be able to stop his humanity from slipping away ?
The acting in this film is passable. Nothing Oscar worthy here, but Luke Evans does own the role of Vlad and makes him seem strong yet vulnerable. The story is actually done well and incorporates aspects from the many stories that involve Vlad and Dracula. It’s actually told a little backwards as he was a monster that by mere mention of his name men trembled but once he took on the vampire powers for more human reasons. This telling of the story made it feel like you should cheer the so called beast for his motivations alone. The action scenes were done well except the occasional special effects budget cut. For example there’s a scene where most of it is shown through a swords reflection only showing slight flashes of bats flying on the battlefield and noises in the background. The few shortcuts they used were OK because when they went all out it was awesome. The hand to hand stuff was good too especially the final battle between the Turks and Vlad.
This movie wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. I expected a special effects heavy crapper but I was pleasantly surprised by the story they presented. I probably won’t watch this film ever again but I do believe it’s worth at least one viewing as it is a fun time to be had.