Dracula Untold can best be described as a vampire action flick. While it has serious tones to it, the action sequences are where things occasionally slide over into cheese territory. It’s a shame too, the story has an interesting take on the mythology of the character that manages to work in a way that the original take on the story fits without the character changing in a way that seems out of their nature.
Prince Vlad (known as Vlad the Impaler) has hung up his armor and is now living peacefully with his family in his kingdom. Enter Turk warlord who demands all his kingdom’s boys (along with his own son) to which Vlad doesn’t react well. War ensues, the warlord deciding to come claim his prize. Since Vlad has no army, he has no choice but to make a deal that will allow him to protect his family and kingdom but at a terrible price.
Overall, I liked the original way that the story was told. While Vlad was a monster, the film manages to spin him in a more sympathetic light. Part of that stems from the performance of Luke Evans and the craftsmanship of the script. The film is dark and intense at times. The thing that kept this from being a great film are some of the effects and action sequences. Some of the sequences are realistic and tight, some of it’s a bit too grandiose and CG looking unfortunately.
I also had some issue here and there with some of the vampire’s powers, most notably how the bats were turned into a kind of “bat fist”, that was a bit much.
The actors are fun to watch. Evans proves himself to be strong lead while Dominic Cooper makes a formidable foe. Charles Dance as the Master Vampire was my second favorite performance of the film. The rest of the cast is tight as well and includes: Sarah Gadon, Art Parkinson, Paul Kaye, and William Houston.
The film is entertaining overall though. If you can get past some of the weak points, it’s worth a night at home with some popcorn.
reviewed by Sean McKnight