By Cameron M. Bray ’16
“Dracula Untold”—Luke Evans, Sarah Gadon, Dominic Cooper and Charles Dance
6 out of 10
Perhaps the most bizarre and unworkable aspect of “Dracula Untold” is its premise.
The film tries to serve as an origin story for Bram Stoker’s iconic character Count Dracula by showing Vlad the Impaler’s (on whom Stoker based Dracula) transformation into Dracula the vampire.
Hearing this, my initial reaction was one of doubt and skepticism, and I suspect many people felt the same.
Tying a historical character with the fictional character is usually a difficult, if not impossible task, like bonding two positively charged ions, or getting Democrats and Republicans to agree on anything.
Another fact that made me raise my eyebrow was “Dracula Untold” is an action movie, not a gothic horror film, Dracula’s generally preferred genre.
“Dracula Untold” trying to be an action film just seemed like it would be an awkward transition and a difficult task.
But let’s give it a try: One day Vlad, played by Luke Evans, and his Transylvanian subjects are celebrating Easter peacefully, when a band of Turkish soldiers barges into Castle Dracula, demanding a tribute.
Sultan Mehmet II, played by Dominic Cooper, has demanded that 1,000 boys and Vlad’s son be given over to the Turkish army, otherwise, he will declare war on Transylvania.
Vlad, who was himself given up by his father to the Turks, refuses and the fighting begins. However, he realizes he does not have the power to beat the Turks alone.
Thus he ventures high into the mountains, seeking the aid of an unnamed master vampire, played by Charles Dance, who quickly grants him the power he desires.
Vlad drinks the vampire’s blood, granting him superhero-like abilities (super strength, super speed, etc.) for three days.
But there’s a catch: If Vlad gives into temptation—the “insatiable thirst”—and drinks human blood, the effects will become permanent and he will become the master vampire.
The plot had the potential for an interesting external conflict (Vlad versus the Turks) and an even more interesting internal conflict (Vlad versus his blood thirst), but the movie never really capitalizes on this.
While the battles with the Turks are exciting and dramatic, the moments of internal conflict are fleeting and not fully realized.
One minute Vlad will have the urge to drink his wife’s (Sarah Gadon) blood, the next 30 minutes he will spend battling the Turks.
Overall, the scales feel a bit tipped.
Besides that, the action just isn’t exciting or violent enough to make “Dracula Untold” a memorable film.
While it is intriguing enough to people into the theatre, it does not elevate “Dracula Untold” higher than a B-rate movie, and for that it gets a 6 out of 10.