The darkness of Dracula clouds cinemas with gothic fury in director Gary Shore’s Dracula Untold, which returns the legend to the man who bore his name.
When faced with the annihilation of his people and family, Prince Vlad Tepes (Luke Evans) makes a deal with the devil for unstoppable power in a bid to defeat his enemies. However, this dark strength threatens to destroy him as well as the ones he loves most.
Gary Shore has crafted a stylish action/horror movie that combines history and the legend for a new audience. The Irish director does a fine job at balancing the mystical history and a new-age thirst for gore, taking facts from the past to reinforce the legend. He’s also attracted the attention of one of Hollywood’s hottest leading men to take on the mythical role of Dracula.
The anchor of the film comes in the form of actor Luke Evans who takes on the role of Vlad with passion. While Evans’ Vlad is a husband, father and prince, he can instantly transform into a force of absolute terror. This aggression of authority will really makes audiences believe in the power of Vlad, and the horror that he can inflict. In keeping with his historical legacy as ‘The Impaler’, Evan’s Dracula does set a few enemies to the spike.
Dracula Untold also has an impressive supporting cast including Dominic Cooper, Sarah Gideon, and Charles Dance. Copper stars as Vlad’s enemy, Mehmed II, who demands a tribute from our hero that is too costly for the the dark prince to give up. Cooper plays Mehmed with this slightly punkish rich boy attitude, knowing that nothing is beyond his reach or will. He and Vlad also set their blades on one another in a mano a mano sword fight that tests Vlad’s status as a warrior.
Gideon portrays Vlad’s wife Mirena, and mother to his son Ingeras, who Vlad sacrifices himself for. Her real strength comes from knowing that she’ll more than likely lose her husband to this dark power, but still will not let this define her. Finally, Charles Dance gives a very creepy standout performance as the Master Vampire— the creature that bestows new power to Vlad. Like Evans, Dance has an incredible presence and authority, and the scene where these two strike their twisted bargain is a joy to watch.
Dracula Untold demonstrates a great balance of action and horror, with Shore’s background in visual effects helping him craft an original approach to Evans’ Dracula transformation. The action is swift and terrifying, with Vlad tearing through the mass of the Turkish army, and summoning hundreds of thousands of bats to help him unleash his monstrous rage.
Dracula Untold honors the man behind the legend, presented in terrifying new form for a brand new generation.
Image source: Paramount Pictures.