Drac­ula Un­told

Vlad Tepid

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Dvd & Blu-Ray -

Re­lease Date: 9 Fe­bru­ary

2014 | 15 | Blu- ray/ DVD Direc­tor: Gary Shore Cast: Luke Evans, Do­minic Cooper, Sarah Gadon, Art Parkin­son, Charles Dance

In­tended to

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?”

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