Most of us have seen an incarnation of Dracula at one point or another before this particular movie. After the first half dozen it is really hard to imagine how Hollywood could possibly come up with another reinvention that might still be interesting on some level. Yet while not trying to reinvent the wheel this movie tells another (fictional) version of Vlad, the Impaler.
Once upon in Hungary… The Turks, marching to conquer Europe, take 1000 children and torture them into becoming their private army of fearless, bloodthirsty soldiers. One of the most feared among them: Vlad, who later returns to his people and reigns as their prince. Surprisingly enough he does so as a loving father and caring husband, even if he seems very distant most of the time – the things childhood torture can do to a man.
Yet even after years, the Turks still demand tribute in coin. And now that war refuses to go as they want, they also want another 1000 children to be trained just as the previous lot. Plus one: Vlad’s own son.
Being unwilling to part with his son, the prince then turns to extreme measures, seeking out the help of a mysterious monster, living in a remote cave, thus subjecting himself to an age-old vampire curse.
Thus the story commences and the film makes an excellent effort at keeping the audience hopeful that just maybe things will turn out well for this particular Dracula, that he can keep his wife and son alive, despite having to be a monster and quite often a cruel murderer to keep everyone safe.
Technically speaking music, sound effects as well as visual art are presenting a rounded mixture to set the right mood for what could have been a very poor mix between horror movie and Assassins Creed. While initially there are only subtle tunes to underline the current development, epicness ensues once Vlad has to face the people he once fought for. Supernatural perception is not merely limited to a mix between something akin to “sonar view” and heat vision, but also represented through enhanced hearing and varying perception of speed.
For those of you who would go to a vampire movie for the scares: Never fear. There are a couple of surprise scenes in this one as well and quite a few special effects that really send chills down your spine. Nobody likes spiders after all. Or crawly things.
The best surprise yet is that the movie features a child character, Vlad’s son, who not only is courageous, but also fails to be either a super hero or particularly whiny, both much of a relief.
Too long, didn’t read? Dracula Untold may not be an all new revelation of vampiric movies, yet it most certainly is good entertainment, featuring a very good cast and interesting storyline that will keep you guessing as to who wins out in the end.
Alexander Kratochwill is a professional translator, took courses in psychology and literature and loves writing, gaming and everything involving fangs