Synopsis: As his kingdom is being threatened by the Turks, young prince Vlad Tepes must become a monster feared by his own people in order to obtain the power needed to protect his own family, and the families of his kingdom.
Dracula Untold. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt that movie titles can do just as much damage as attempting to re-image one of the most recognizable icons of horror. Dracula. Untold. Okay I’m sort of curious what exactly about this story has been left untold? We’re going on nearly 120 years since Bram Stoker published his masterpiece so has a long lost manuscript with some bold new additions been recovered? Nope, the reason for Untold being tacked on is someone over at Universal Pictures cracked a history book and read a paragraph or two about Vlad the Impaler (aka the real life inspiration behind Stoker’s Dracula) and thought lets combine the story of a man who actually went around impaling his enemies on giant wooden spears with the legend of a creature of the night who sucks blood and has a weakness for silver, garlic, and the daylight. Audiences are going to be intrigued with how Universal will incorporate Vlad’s favorite past times like roasting children whom he then fed to their mothers. Not to mention he also cut off the breasts of women and forced their husbands to eat them. Once all that fun was finished he had them all impaled for good measure. What’s the rating they went with on Dracula Untold again? PG-13, yeah they’ll have no troubles whatsoever fitting all that obscenely gory history into the backstory without garnering a hard R or NC-17.
Like a vast majority of current output Dracula Untold fails to captivate even within the first few minutes of its still frame prologue. Its an overly glossy action film miserably trying to pass it off as horror in fact I’d even go a step further and say its an action film that relies too much on romanticism. The vile acts that haunt Vlad’s past are treated like an afterthought instead he is all about being a loving husband and father while garnering the respect/honor of the people he rules over. So what happens if someone misbehaves or questions Vlad’s ruler-ship? Does he simply smirk at whoever was being a nuisance and then glance over to where a wooden spear sits in a corner? You can go several ways when it comes to exploring the actual history behind the story of Dracula and Universal decided to merely paint by numbers rather than take the vampire king into some unnerving territory. I’ll give the film makers their due in terms of cinematography the visuals catch your eye in several scenes to the point where you wish there was more substance elsewhere. The only other thing that Dracula Untold manages to succeed at is sucking the life out of you without any remorse, instead why not go bite into the source material you’ll end up relishing every moment of it.
Final Grade: D-