Guns’ Guide to Movies: Dracula Untold

Dracula Untold makes use of many of the classic aspects of Dracula we all know, with one notable exception. The character of Dracula never sleeps in a coffin, which I found very disappointing. Because the only thing that got me through this movie was the hope that Dracula would fall asleep and someone would nail that coffin shut and set it on fire.

It’s bad guys. It’s really bad.

Dracula Untold attempts to revamp the story of Count Dracula by creating an origin story for him. This story revolves around Vlad the Impaler. A real person that many historians believe could have been the human inspiration for Bram Stoker’s character of Dracula.

Vlad in the film isn’t quite the cruel figure who infamously took great pleasure in murder and torture that we learned about in history class. Instead he is a brilliant soldier, respected prince, devoted husband and loving father. His only wish is to ensure peace between his country of Transylvania and the Turks, who demand tribute in the form of 1,000 boys to fight in their army, including Vlad’s beloved son.DraculaUntold Poster

In order to save his son from becoming a child soldier, Vlad seeks out the mysterious sorcerer/monster/vampire (maybe? It’s not really clear..) Caligula in a cave in a mountain high above Transylvania. Who turns him into a vampire so that he can have the strength to fight off the Turks and save his people.

If you thought that sounded boring, you’re right.

Dracula Untold is easily one of the most spectacularly boring films I’ve ever seen. There is far too much time spent on exposition, trying to set up the historical context for the unrest between the Turks and the Transylvanians, and establish Vlad as some sort of likable character we should sympathize with. Even almost half way through the film there are still moments where the filmmaker decided it was necessary to explain things to the audience, via an unimportant character, or outright narration.

The fight scenes are a huge let down. They’re over choreographed and riddled with so much shaky cam that you can’t see what’s going on anyway. They also suffer from one of the most annoying problems a fight scene can have: the main character has to fight a seemingly impossible amount of enemies. Then his/her opposition proceeds to fight them one-by-one instead of converging on the hero in a huge mass, destroying any actual drama in the scene.

Drama wasn’t only missing in the fight scenes. Throughout the entire film it was no where to be found. Little to no attention was given to the supporting character’s storylines or personalities. So when the script called for a dramatic, emotional scene involving a side character, I either didn’t know who that character was, or I just didn’t care about them at all. It was usually the latter. I had absolutely no emotional connection to any of the characters on screen, especially the supporting characters.

I could go on for days about how bad this movie was.

The dialogue was clunky. The plot was full of holes and continuity issues. Many problems were resolved purely through coincidence and unlikely favorable circumstances. Characters at times had no clear motivation for their actions. But amongst all this, there was one shining light in the explosion of bad ideas that is Dracula Untold, and that is Charles Dance.

Dance plays the role of Caligula and gives the best performance in the film by far. Moviegoers might recognize him from his role as Tywin Lannister on Game of Thrones. Sadly, his talents were wasted in this film. Though his scenes were a great improvement on the ones surrounding it, the god awful script and poor direction managed to distract from his abilities.

At the end of the day, Dracula Untold is another boring, bland and generic attempt at a gritty reboot of a familiar story. Just add it to the list and forget about it. It won’t be difficult.

  • Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars