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Dracula Untold – Review


Release Date: 10 October 2014 [USA]
Director: Gary Shore
Writer: Matt Sazama - Burk Sharpless - Bram Stoker [Characters]
Cast: Luke Evans - Dominic Cooper - Sarah Gadon - Art Parkinson



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Posted October 5, 2014 by

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Dracula Untold Review:

Dracula Untold feeds Hollywood’s obsession for origin stories, but unlike some of its siblings (someone mention Man of Steel?), Gary Shore’s bold directorial debut does an excellent job upholding its intent, anchoring a narrative that sits perfectly as a prequel to the myth.

This Dracula revamp sees Shore hoist the well-worn sub-genre out from the Twilight zone and renew its stance in the mainstream, meanwhile undoing Jim Jarmusch’s efforts to subvert gothic custom in Only Lovers Left Alive (2013).

Prince of Transylvania, Vlad Tepes (played extraordinarily by up-and-comer Luke Evans), finds himself in thrall with Sultan Mehmed II (Dominic Cooper), a power-hungry Turk who requests a thousand Transylvanian boys, including Vlad’s own son, to join his slave army.

With little more than a handful of troops to command, Vlad is forced to take drastic measures to combat an imminent Turkish invasion; measures which mean surrendering his mortal soul to the darkness, but which also mean gaining mystical powers and the strength of a hundred men.

Couched in the pulp idiom as it were, there’s something strikingly 300 about this appropriately visceral take on gothic mythology. Our leading character, burdened by a responsibility to his people and torn by a decision to go to war against an immeasurable army, climbs a mountain to seek the help of a supernatural being…sound familiar? However, the fundamental difference here between Dracula and its equally bloody counterpart is, where Leonidas has an attractive, half-naked girl, Vlad has Caligula; a withered master vampire played with all the Rickman-esque melancholy you might envisage from Charles Dance.

In his first leading role (and let’s be honest, it was due), Luke Evans renders the title character with as much ferocity to live up to the “Impaler” name, but with enough sensitivity that we’re able to feel the weight of his decision; a fine blend of bloodthirsty anguish and silver-tongued charm, thus characterising the romantic connotations of the infamous immortal.

Gary Shore delivers a bravely honest depiction of one of literature’s most notorious monsters, taking a confident first step on the road to what looks to be an illustrious career behind the camera. The visuals are adept, set pieces smart, conveyed vigorously with excitable action aplenty.

Let the games begin!


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Anthony Lowery
Freelance Contributor

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