Welcome Scribbler horror fans! Old Man Feind took a look at a new one for us. A new take on a classic so was it any good? We’ll find out in…
Dracula Untold is not the usual or typical Dracula story. Since this one is fairly new I’ll try to keep this as spoiler free as possible since most probably haven’t seen it yet. This is not the romanticized Dracula first done so well by Bela Lugosi picking up Dracula after he has been a vampire for a long time. This is more of an origin story of how Lord Dracul aka Vlad the Impaler became Dracula and why he was the brutal ruler that he was. The history buffs out there can point out any historical flaws as Vlad the Impaler was a very real person infamous for his brutality.
As this story goes Vlad was turned over to the invading Turks by his father along with a thousand other young Transylvanian boys as payment to keep the Turks from taking over. Trained in the Turkish army Vlad became a ferocious warrior known for his sheer brutality with the site of him on the battlefield becoming enough to make invading armies run in fear. He became infamous for putting fallen enemies up on spikes for all to see and know the price of taking him on. Finally Vlad was returned to Transylvania to rule his homeland a loyal subject of the Turkish Sultan.
Vlad hangs up his armor ruling over Transylvania as a kind and giving king rather than brutal dictator. He cares deeply for his homeland with the atrocities he committed well behind him. Out with one his soldiers one day they track what they believe was a Turkish scouting team high into the mountains. At the top they find a cave littered with human bones so deep they crunch under foot as they enter. An unseen beast takes out Vlad’s companion and Vlad barely escapes by falling into the sunlit opening of the cave getting only a glimpse of the attacking beast who appears to be a man.
Vlad is played excellently by Luke Evans and the film has a bit of the style to it associated with 300 though not as much “graphic novel come to life” as that film was. There are historical flaws to be sure but I was impressed with the film not painting Vlad as some ultra evil bloodthirsty brutal dictator that most think of him as. Yes, the real Vlad lined the roads into Transylvania with his enemies impaled on spikes but this was to ward off invading armies as a warning of what happens if you take on Vlad. It wasn’t the common citizenry being impaled and left to rot rather Vlad Dracul took very good care of his subjects. While I’m sure the historical inaccuracies in the film are numerous I think the film does an overall good job of showing the man Vlad was very well which is in no small part due to performance of Evans.
So how and why does Vlad turn bloodsucking beastie? Well enter in those bastard Turks once again. The new Sultan, who Vlad had grown up with like a brother, decides that Transylvania has had it too good for too long. He demands Vlad hand over 1000 boys to be trained for the Turkish army including Vlad’s own son just as Vlad’s father had had to do. Vlad refuses with the consequence being a war with the Turks he has no chance to win. In the hope of gaining the upper hand he returns to the cave in hopes of recruiting the beast that lives there to join him against the Turks. Of course it ain’t that easy. In a Faustian "deal with the devil" scenario, Vlad learns it is a cursed man dwelling in the cave. He explains that he was cursed and is unable to leave the cave unless someone helps him break the curse. Vlad is told he can gain all of the beast’s powers for 72 hours by drinking its blood if he can resist drinking human blood after the three days the power will leave him and the beast will remain trapped in the cave. If he drinks blood the beast is released and Vlad will thirst blood for eternity. Seeing no other way to defeat the Turks Vlad drinks the blood giving him three days to kill the Sultan and the invading Turkish army.
I won’t say anything further spoiling the movie but after Vlad drinks the blood that is when the fun begins and story is more on the backburner. In the end, while Luke Evans does an excellent job, Dracula Untold ends up being good not great. It’s still far better than 90% of most vampire films but this is more of a 300 type film with the story of Dracula providing the back story replacing Greek lore from the 300 films. I don’t really mean that as a bad thing as I liked both 300 and its sequel but as a horror fan the film fails more on the dark gothic horror side. In essence Dracula Untold is a war story using Vlad the Impaler as a backdrop to appeal to a wider audience rather than the audience that is most interested in Dracula’s story, us horror lovers.
So the final verdict is that Dracula Untold was good. It passed The Scribbler Clock Test but more as just a good movie not a good horror movie. However, I liked it and will probably watch it again therefore I have to call it…
No vampire movie review is complete without a little
Have you seen Dracula Untold Scribbler fans? What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.
Scribbler Movie Reviews
Feind loves watching movies of all kinds so if we watch it, we tell whether you should as well. I'll share mostly horror but I also enjoy everything from big Blockbusters to micro-budget Independent films.
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