Saturday, October 4, 2014

Movie Review ... Dracula Untold


dracula-untold-posterSince Max Shreck spooked his way into infamy with 1922’s ‘Nosferatu’, vampires have been a cinematic mainstay.  There have been many versions of the legend with only a few becoming enduring classics.  The blood-sucking flicks of Christopher Lee in the Hammer series and Bela Lugosi’s turn in the Universal movie instantly spring to mind.  Their presence made those films memorable which ‘Dracula Untold’ tries to emulate.  Even Dracula’s creator Bram Stoker would be intrigued to see the latest spin on his enduringly sinister character.

Vlad (Luke Evans) is a soldier during the reign of the Ottoman Empire.  A man of great skill his abilities are tested when meeting Caligula (Charles Dance).  A former Roman emperor, now vampire, Caligula turns Vlad into a creature of darkness.  Adopting the name ‘Dracula’, Vlad learns a new and deadly skill-set.  Now a blood-soaked warrior, Dracula grapples with the demons enveloping his eternal existence.

Despite Luke Evans’ intense performance ‘Dracula Untold’ is mixed.  The central story is interesting as Vlad slowly learns the curse that goes with his new abilities.  The impact of his new life on his family provides genuine drama.  Coupled with some decent CGI, ‘Dracula Untold’ should be unforgettable.  Sadly the opposite is true as despite visual flair it feels very ‘by the numbers’. 

Like many current ‘franchise building’ films, ‘Dracula Untold’ seems to tell only a part of the story.  The rest we’ll have to wait for the inevitable sequel.  This has the effect of never allowing the tale to truly soar.  It has the requisite energy and gothic visions although not having the impact they should.  It’s becoming tiresome seeing these types of films touted as part of a larger canvas where one strong movie would have sufficed.

An attempt by Universal Studios to revive their ‘classic monsters’ series, ‘Dracula Untold’ does what it set out to do.  Gaining interest and building towards future instalments, it proves the undead can easily be revived whenever dollars can be made.


Movie Review Rating out of 10:  5

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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