Movie Review: ‘Dracula Untold’

 

In an age where the word vampire has become synonymous with dark, sparkly brooding teenagers there’s a lot of call for a return to when the blood-sucking monstrosities were a little more monstrous.

“Dracula: Untold” is a movie aiming to offer a new take on the vampire origin with a far more dreadful tone than recent vampire movies.

This movie evoked a rather peculiar reaction from me; one I’m loathed to admit as it bears little sense. It was not a very good movie, and yet I really liked it.

Review by Nat Edson, Staff Writer
Review by Nat Edson,
Staff Writer

Its flaws are many and strong, if rather plain. The pacing is off by a wide margin. Generally, I think a lot of movies tend to be too long, but this one almost certainly should have been longer. Even the frivolous scenes like Dracula being sad with his wife don’t feel out of place, and actually add a lot of enjoyable depth.

But the scenes that really made the movie, showing us Dracula being a brutal engine of destruction and showing us people reacting to seeing their favorite prince become a brutal engine of destruction, should be more plentiful. They aren’t rare or poorly done; there was just so much room for more.

The movie’s other flaws were a little more irritating, though none of them are really bad. Characters will periodically make decisions that just don’t make sense, for example, leaving to go fight when there’s no reason to and they should just sit tight.

Or the movie’s utter inability to tell how long it takes to climb a mountain, because apparently it’s all of about an hour. The timetable in general is pretty shaky. Toward the beginning, we’re given a pretty strict three-day period, but a whole lot happens in those three days that just couldn’t. The antagonist finds out about his army’s defeat, rallies a new army, and marches to the sight of the previous battle and beyond, all in one day.

The movie’s “unrated” rating was also rather bizarre. This wasn’t a problem, per say, but there wasn’t any real gore and there wasn’t any nudity, so the inability of the MPAA to come to a conclusion on this one was a little peculiar.

The biggest complaint I have is the film’s susceptibility for shaky cam. Shaky cam is an awful thing, at home only in the Bourne trilogy and a very select few found-footage movies. Otherwise it is all too prevalent and used to excess.

In “Dracula: Untold,” sadly, it is used to excess. The worst part is it happens during the otherwise very exciting combat sequences. The first of these sees Dracula taking on a thousand soldiers by himself. The ensuing carnage is brilliant to watch, when it is actually visible.

Despite all of these gripes, I ended up really enjoying “Dracula: Untold.” It wasn’t quite greater than the sum of its parts, but it did have some really good parts despite everything.

One thing in particular that struck me was a speech given by a character in the film before Dracula gains his powers. It painted images of a truly interesting setting with possible events happening in the future, events that sounded like they would be exciting to see.

It doesn’t seem entirely unlikely that they might make more movies, furthering this new rendition of Dracula into a completely original story line that I would be very excited to witness.

We can only hope the movie does well enough to live up to that potential.

 3.5 out 5 stars.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email