Release Date: 9 February
2014 | 15 | Blu- ray/ DVD Director: Gary Shore Cast: Luke Evans, Dominic Cooper, Sarah Gadon, Art Parkinson, Charles Dance
reintroduce and reboot Universal’s iconic monsters for a generation raised on Marvel’s allconquering brand of cinematic superheroics, Dracula Untold is an underwhelming first step.
Luke Evans stars as Vlad Tepes, dedicated family man and Prince of Wallachia. After years of peace, the Turkish Sultan Mehmed II ( Dominic Cooper) demands 1,000 Wallachian boys to serve in his army, including Vlad’s own son. Hopelessly outnumbered, Vlad ventures to Broken Tooth Mountain, where Charles Dance’s mellifluous Master Vampire grants him the unholy power needed to defeat the invaders.
Set centuries before Drac’s bloodsucking Victorian heyday, the film puts an initially interesting historical spin on the tale, adding supernatural shenanigans to the real- life story of Vlad the Impaler. It casts Vlad as a sympathetic figure, a tragic hero who falls into darkness trying to save the ones he loves. But what could have been a compelling character arc is undone by predictable plotting that never leaves you in any doubt where the story is going.
Peculiarly it’s more superhero story than horror, with impossible bat- based powers and sweeping Lord Of The Rings- style scraps in abundance, but a noticeable absence of bloodshed and scares. The supporting cast is completely forgettable, it’s poorly paced and a little too straight- faced, leaving the strange potential of this world largely unexplored.
Evans is a watchable leading man and does a decent job with the cod- Shakespeare dialogue, while director Gary Shore uses Northern Ireland’s natural beauty to striking effect, and crafts some genuinely impressive visual effects sequences. It’s the story that really lets this down – the sad fact is it would have been better left untold.
A director’s commentary, a 10- minute “day in the life of Luke Evans” featurette, a brief alternate opening, a seven- minute featurette on bringing back Dracula, a bizarre 20- minute featurette where Luke Evans talks you through the film, and 13 minutes of genuinely interesting deleted scenes – including one with Slavic witch Baba Yaga, cut from the finished film. Jordan Farley
As first dates go, it wasn’t a huge success.
“There is NO dandruff on my shoulder, do you hear?”