Before there was Bram Stoker’s Dracula, there was the inspiration behind story. Meet Vlad the Impaler, Prince of Wallachia, from the House of Dracula, ruling from 1456 to 1462. In ‘Dracula Untold’, the feature film debut for director Gary Shore, we’re introduced to Vlad as a cold, calculating child soldier fighting for the Turks. He grew up a warrior and legend only to become disgusted by his past actions, now vowing to rule in the name of peace.
When the new Sultan Mehmed (Dominic Cooper) comes, demanding 1000 more boys to train and fight in his name, Vlad’s son Ingeras (Art Parkinson) is on the list. Defying orders and inadvertently starting a war against the Turks, Vlad seeks out the evil that lives in the mountains to gain the extra strength and power required to beat his enemies and protect his family and people - but there is a price.
Movie audiences are lapping up origin stories these days, and still left begging for more. ‘Dracula Untold’ has gone more than a few steps further and far beyond tales of radioactive spiders and gamma rays, turning instead to the things that go bump in the night and a current Hollywood obsession. ‘Dracula Untold’ is very clever in that it’s giving a tired tale more heft by placing front and centre a man who will do anything for his family - a noble man - and thrown more at him then simply blood, garlic and wooden stakes; they’ve given him a purpose, a reason, and it’s a good one.
SWITCH: 'DRACULA UNTOLD' TRAILER
Luke Evans (‘The Hobbit’) is a great Dracula. Not only is he very easy on the eyes but he hasn’t fallen prey to a camp character or the tough-to-deliver dialogue. Evans holds his own, strongly and almost even believably. With impressive new CGI techniques and designs, Shore as first-time director has made some bold and interesting choices, including a fight scene viewed via the reflection in a sword impaled in an enemy's chest, as he slowly falls to the ground dying. These risky moves pay off and make the film more exciting to watch, as we eagerly anticipate the director's next surprise. Unfortunately that’s where they start to fizzle out, but minor glimpses and some unique actions sequences still follow.
For those tired of the same old vampire story, this one will definitely wake you from your stupor and leave you wanting more - which is exactly what the studio wants, with hopes that this is the next big action franchise.