By: Corey Lack
Dracula Untold was a 2014 dark fantasy starring Luke Evans. It features the story of the titular infamous man, Vlad Drakul, leader of Wallachia and Transylvania, trying to lead his lands in peace. Then, he finds out that the Ottomans have potentially sent a scouting party into the mountains to pave the way for invasion. When he leads a small group into them to find out, they stumble on a cave filled with bones and before they can investigate further, they are attacked by some kind of creature who easily kills all but Vlad. Upon returning to his castle, the Ottoman leader, an old ally of Vlad, arrives and, as Vlad and his people are technically members of the Ottoman empire, demands that every family sends their firstborn son to join the army, just like it was done when Vlad was a child. When the time comes for the Ottomans to collect their new recruits, Vlad refuses and kills the squad sent to gather them. Knowing his people won’t survive the retaliation by the Ottomans, he returns to the mountain to seek the power to fight them. In the cave, the creature offers Vlad a deal where Vlad will become a temporary vampire with all the strengths and bloodlust, but will return to being human after a while. However, if he drinks blood, he will remain a vampire forever and free the vampire from his imprisonment from the cave. This is where fact really starts to mix with the fictional aspects of the character Count Dracula. He fights and defeats the Ottomans using a combination of his new vampiric powers and his historically known terror tactics.
I really liked the characters, especially Dracula. Where he is usually shown as being manipulative and/or cruel, verging on the point of pure evil, that is not the case with this version. While he did commit the terror tactics like the historical version did, namely impale people on stakes, he did so in order to prevent future violence as most would surrender rather than risk fighting, losing, and meeting the same fate. Even his wish to become a vampire is so that he could protect his people and his family from the Ottomans. These made him far more relatable to the viewers.
The special effects and the action sequences are also phenomenal. There were multiple times where Vlad would use his inhuman speed to easily wipe out his opponents and the camera would move to slow motion so you could see exactly what was happening.
The only real aspect that I have issues with is the reactions of people. I seem to be the only one that connects the original vampire in the cave to Count Orlok, the character from the silent movie, Nosferatu, and another one based off of the fictional version of Count Dracula. Even the movie seems to be hesitant to admit what I see as an obvious fact.
The movie is definitely one to watch. With great characters, special effects, and action pieces, it’s definitely a must-see. Despite my little niggle about the original vampire, I’d give this 9.5 silver rings out of 10.