Dracula Untold movie review

By Kate “One Take Kate” Taylor

Image via: Mr Leon Taylor
Being a serious vampire fan growing up, I was interested to see what Dracula Untold was going to deliver; and when I said I was a serious vampire fan I mean I’m a Vlad (Tepes) the Impaler, Bram Stoker, Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee, Anne Rice (books not the films…) kind of a fan. It’s fantastic then that this movie, coming through as a Game of Thrones tinged blockbuster with gothic and horror themes; really does deliver on the vampire folklore front. A lot of research has been done to uncover Vlad and vampirism factoids to thread through the film as little Easter Eggs to unwrap, as first time feature director Gary Shore crushes expectations and delivers a fresh take on the legend.
Luke Evans (Immortals) does a fantastic job of carrying a cannon of material created on the character of Dracula and delivers a sincere portrayal of the origin story of one of films’ most iconic figures; while displaying a hardened warlord, Prince Vlad is also a good Dad and Husband in the mix…a good Dad of Ed Stark-ian proportions. Charles Dance brings the serious ghoul action, becoming a frightening and vile thing; there’s always a real potential for this kind of crucial role to turn cheesy and OTT – but great news is he’s totally badass; so I’m sure his GOT fans will be thrilled with it. Evans is paired with Sarah Gadon as Mirena, Vlad’s Wife; creating a believable, if not perhaps idyllic love story and anchor to his family, whom Vlad will put everything at stake for.

No sparkle…just sun seared flesh. (Image via)

Dracula Untold is a super slick Drac flick with lush locations, memorable characters and an overall sense of medieval cool; I loved how a swag of vampire and Dracula mythology is worked into the film creating explanations for beloved Dracula tropes. This gives some serious scope for incredible visual effects, from the epic battle scenes, swarms of bats, ancient structures or the effects of the sunlight on our dear dark Prince; it’s all crammed into an exciting package along with some extensive, old-school stunt work into the mix. I could slot in a lot of talk about this being a film you can sink your teeth into, or that it’s a brave film with bite that attacks a legend and creates something new; but what I can definitely tell you is that it doesn’t suck. Highly recommended for the most avid Dracula and vampire fans to those with even a passing interest in a bit of sword clashing action…get into it!
Academic Area: Gothic and the Tragic Hero. Gothic – some could identify Gothic themed things as black lipstick, dark poetry or a Sisters of Mercy t-shirt… but not so. Gothic themes represent a whole plethora of narratives, character archetypes, tropes and ‘rules’. Dracula Untold does a great job of working in a lot of aspects from the academic study of Gothic. From the structures Dracula lives or conducts business in to the terrifying caves of Broken Tooth Mountain; buildings or structures are just one important part of Gothic mythology; and none is more revered and perhaps reimagined in Gothic cinematic history than Castle Dracula, which is beautifully realised in Dracula Untold. Vlad is also what we call a ‘Tragic Hero’, meaning that even though we know what his ultimate fate will be, we have been shown reasons of why we should love him, making the events of his downfall more impactful. A tragic hero will sacrifice himself in the name of a cause, family or his beliefs and even though we know and cruelly anticipate when he will not prevail, we feel drawn to support him, as if this will change his circumstances. A couple of recent tragic heroes for your reference, The Dark Knight’s Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) or how about Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) from Harry Potter?

Fact: ‘Tragic Hero’ Dads give the best hugs. (Image via)



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