Thursday, 2 October 2014

Movie Review: Dracula Untold

Previous Review: The Boxtrolls

There's nothing new about Dracula Untold. Unfortunately, it's just another film that favours spectacle and style over substance. With a film clocked in at a mere 85 minutes (excluding credits), the story is just not compelling enough for the audience to invest emotionally in what happens next. There's simply not enough time and everything felt rushed without proper character development.

In the beginning of the film, we're swiftly introduced to our main character, Vlad the Impaler with a series of montage about his background, what he did for the Turkish empire and why he was renowned for his brutality in warfare. Basically, he's a 15-century Transylvanian prince infamous for his practice of impaling his enemies to induce fear and ensure the safety of his people and kingdom. Unfortunately, the Sultan of the Turkish Empire demands 1000 of the young boys in his kingdom to join his army to conquer Europe. Unable to comply, outnumbered and face an imminent threat from the Turkish army, he decides to make a deal with an arch vampire demon, Caligula, at a price, to grant him power to destroy his enemies.

The action scenes are stylish, cool and surprisingly not too violent, scary or gory, which fits the intention of establishing Dracula as an anti-hero instead of a frightening monster villain. The best action scene is where we get to see Vlad summons a colony of bats to defeat the 10,000-strong Turkish army during the climactic battle. It is truly a sight to behold but ultimately it fails to impress as everything just happens too fast.

There are some fine performances from its actors, especially Luke Evans as Vlad. He did the best he could in a film with a bad script. Many of the supporting characters are severely underdeveloped and completely forgettable. We don't know much about them aside from watching them appear on screen talking a few lines here and there before getting killed. None of them have enough screen time for their characters to make a memorable, lasting impression on screen, including the main antagonist, Sultan Mehmed II. We've being told that the Sultan and Vlad were close like brothers and yet we never get to see this relationship on screen at all. We don't know much about him. Not to mention, even the origins of Caligula, the vampire demon who sired Vlad is quickly briefed through without slowing down.

The film never bothered to fully explore its premise...the ultimate price Vlad had to 'pay' (his humanity) for becoming a vampire to save his people, family and kingdom. It doesn't truly show what a 'monster' he had become in order to win the war against the Turks. Furthermore, the film doesn't take time to establish the other characters well. Because of that, the film has lost its potential. Overall, Dracula Untold is just not worth the price of admission. A forgettable film.

Rating: 5/10

Previous Review: The Boxtrolls


  1. Agreeable to your point, this is a forgettable movie, btw did you watch Annabelle? What's your comment about this film?

    1. Regrettably, I'm not interested to watch Annabelle. So can't comment on that. Sorry.