DIRECTOR: Gary Shore
May contain spoilers!
Since the 1931 Bella Lagosi version of Bram Stoker’s vampire classic, Dracula has been the vampire of choice in Hollywood. 85 years later, he has still got it though this time, British actor , Luke Evans takes on then role, a performance which for me at least, has to live up to that of fellow Brit Gary Oldman in Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), Francis Ford Copolla’s take on the same source.
But this is not so much the Dracula story which we all know, rather a embellishment of the prologue, a prequel as it where to the 19th century tale. This is a medieval tale of how Dracula, a good man, may have been driven to sell his sole and become the eponymous Vampire.
All the key elements are here, with his wife falling to her death and his dubious history of impaling his enemy, earning him the name of “Vlad the Impaler”, but it is all a bit safe. It is loathed to portray him as anything other than misguided and tries to turn Dracula into an anti-hero, rather than the lost sole, selfishly seeking his sole-mate across time. The core is here but the surface is muddled.
Who is Vlad, or Dracula? Surly they are not trying to sell one of literatures or cinema greatest horror villains as a vamp with a heart of gold… are they? Unfortunately the answer is yes. Is this the way to go? Well, why not? It is not as clever as it thinks that it is but the action is good, Evans is suitable and the modern day ending, clearly planning ahead for a 21st Century take of Stoker’s original story, is good.
Dracula Untold is planned to be the start of a new franchise, re-awakening the Universal horror genre for the 21st century. I suppose we can thank Marvel for this, but as it goes, it could work. The Mummy is next and after that I can only presume that Frankenstein will follow. It is an interesting start and I must admit that if they can jump start this franchise then it might make for an interesting contrast to the Marvel and D.C. universes. Surely there is room for everyone… right?