Film Review – Dracula Untold (2014)

charles dance dracula untold

Charles Dance in Dracula Untold – waiting for his makeup to be applied

Dracula Untold

Directed by Gary Shore

Starring Luke Evans, Dominic Cooper, Sarah Gadon, Charles Dance

Review by Jordan

Some stories are better left untold. That is the statement many horror and science fiction fans will declare upon watching this latest incarnation of the classic Universal monster – of which the biggest critics must surely be the producers who spent big money to ensure it’s release.

Dracula Untold is the now “told” tale of the fearsome Prince Vlad (Evans), who seeks the monstrous strength needed to save his people from the dastardly, boy-seeking (yes, boy-seeking) Turks under the command of the ruthless Mehmed (Dominic Cooper). His quest for dark power however threatens to consume his mind and body, and before long he finds himself at war not only with the Turks, but with a much greater threat – himself. Can he withstand the fierce desire to drink the blood of his own wife for three days and thus ensure his future as a mortal? or will he give himself over to the darkness and face immortality without a soul? and perhaps more importantly, can he find a valid excuse to don his Dragon armor? (spoiler: he can).

Clearly a poorly made movie, complete with atrocious edits, incomprehensible plot decisions and character and costume designs that confuse any distinction between Medieval-era Europe and 21st century New York, Gary Shore’s schlocky horror nevertheless still manages to deliver a level of slightly shameful, guilty pleasure fun, and benefits from featuring a likable lead actor at the height of his popularity. Having previously satisfied the cult crowd thanks to his charismatic turn in the brilliantly devious No One Lives (2012), and the fantasy fanatics with his role of the Smaug-slaying Bard in The Hobbit series, Evans again shows that he has the face and credibility to stay relevant, which is quite a feat considering Dracula Untold is one of the least credible movies of last year.

Another important acting figure here is the gleefully unsettling Charles Dance, who appears destined to return in the inevitable sequel (possibly titled Dracula Told) and who vampire enthusiasts may recognize from Underworld: Awakening. Truth be told, if a second chapter in what would be one of the more forgettable franchises to grace the big screen does surface, I’ll be lining up with the rest of the chumps hoping for their fill of shape-shifting and gory vampiric confrontations, because who needs quality when you have pointless genre sequels.

Pointless and uninspired, but brainless enough to actually seduce those seeking such easy-to-digest entertainment, Dracula Untold is somehow both a by-the-numbers affair and a movie in which you shouldn’t be surprised to see an entire army marching to battle with blindfolds on… because “you can’t fear what you can’t see.” Such haphazard direction deserves at least 90 minutes of you time, doesn’t it?

2.5 wedding memories out of 5


10 responses to “Film Review – Dracula Untold (2014)

  1. I blame the rise of superhero films. Now every film starring a mythological character follows the same unquestionably good/unquestionably bad hero and villain, lots of loud action scenes, and as little actual storytelling as possible, structure.

      • I was just so happy it wasn’t another urban fantasy one and actually sort of different. Vlad was pretty badass, but best of all I think Luke Evans did a great job. I might consider admitting perhaps story-wise it was a little generic, but overall the setting and details (as well as my bias towards Stoker’s novel XD) made the difference for me hahaha. Great review!

  2. Thanks for the spoiler alert – always wondered if dracula wore dragon armor, so im thankful the untold story covered that age old question.

    As fun as it was to rubbish, in these fantasy genre flicks you always expect the worst knowing you’ll be entertained regardless. I was surprised that it had some somewhat known actors and some decent cgi effects which made for an enjoyable movie, but not one I’d buy.

    Good review jordan

  3. I went into this after the slew of bad reviews (and this is a rather favourable one by comparison hahaha) with reservations, even though I wanted something with silly action and fun. Like that it was a reward, even though the last fifteen minutes were an absolute balls-up. Alright, it was one of the few things wrong with it. Luke Evans was just great to watch, and Dance was also a treat. Definitely not the movie to watch if you want more realism, spans of logic and bloody brawls between vampires, but it passes just fine for entertainment.

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