Complete A-Z list

Dracula Untold


Stars: Luke Evans, Sarah Gadon, Dominic Cooper, Charles Dance, Paul Kaye, Art Parkinson, William Houston, Diarmaid Murtagh, Noah Huntley

Director: Gary Shore

The most difficult aspect of the film is to believe the title. There have been 30 or so movies with the legendary vampire’s name in the title to say nothing of hundred of movies about the blood-drinking undead.

So what, then, is ‘untold’ here by director Gary Shore and screenwriters Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless?

Their key narrative line illustrates the satanic transformation of real-life 15th century Transylvanian prince Vlad Dracula – also known as Vlad the Impaler – from nobleman to vampire as the result of his diabolical deal with ancient vampire Charles Dance for supernatural superhuman powers so that he can save his country – and 1,000 youths – from warmongering Turks.

Vlad actually existed, of course while Dracula does not (at least, we should pray that’s the case). What’s on offer here is a batty (sorry!) blend of history for beginners with a vampire shocker crossed – in some impressively-staged mediaeval battle scenes – with television favourite ‘Game of Thrones’ and its sword slashing ilk.

Shore, his players and, especially, the special effects creators, certainly deliver plenty of slash and slay battle footage to decorate the central story which finds luckless Vlad overstaying his three days of superpowers and a taste for blood granted him by Dance and ending up, as promised in his deal with the devil, as a vampire for all eternity…

Debut director Shore does a serviceable enough job in bringing the story to the screen. Luke Evans is passable as Vlad and suitably thirsty as a vampire, Dominic Cooper does what is asked for him as Vlad’s former friend-turned- enemy and Sarah Gadon is attractive.

Lugosi and Lee remain unchallenged.

Alan Frank

USA 2014. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour.
92 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 30 Sep 2014