Thursday, 2 October 2014

Dracula Untold

WRITTEN BY: Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless
DIRECTED BY: Gary Shore
STARRING: Luke Evans, Dominic Cooper, Sarah Gadon, Charles Dance
RATING: 2 stars

Many of us love a good vampire story and no vampire is as infamous as Bram Stoker's Dracula. The concept for Dracula Untold, which is essentially an origins story for the bloodsucker, had so much potential but ultimately fell flat due to a boring script that was poorly executed by first-time director Gary Shore. The film only runs for about 90 minutes but it lacks much intrigue and is far more sappy than expected in the way it pushes Dracula's family story to the forefront of the tale. You can see what Shore and the writers, Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, were trying to achieve in humanising Dracula, but it did not work. Even the action sequences and battle scenes were bland. I really wanted to enjoy Dracula Untold, but the truth is, I will probably never bother to see it again.

Transylvania's Prince Vlad (Luke Evans) is struggling to keep the peace with Ottoman warlord Mehmud (Dominic Cooper). The situation is made worse when Mehmud demands Vlad handover children to be trained as Ottoman soldiers, including the prince's own son. So, he makes a pact with an immortal demon (Charles Dance) to save his family and the realm. Vlad drinks the monster's blood, which will give him three days of superpowers to defeat the Ottoman army. But the deal comes with a catch. Vlad has an uncontrollable desire to drink human blood and must resist for those three days or risk becoming a vampire forever.

Evans is actually a very good actor so it is a shame he has been given so little to work with in this film. He was the saving grace of Dracula Untold. Unfortunately, Cooper was a ridiculous caricature and the supporting cast were hardly memorable. Poor Sarah Gadon, who plays Vlad's wife, is reduced to a simple damsel in distress.

If you like vampire stories, there are far better films to see and books to read than Dracula Untold. 


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