Remakes: different to the original, or no point at all…
That being said, when you’re trading off aspects of the old for the new, you’d be hoping at least to break even. I wanted to like Dracula Untold, I really did, and when all is said and done it’s not the worst film ever made. But it just doesn’t feel like a Dracula film.
It’s possible that much of this stems from the film maker’s attempt to appeal to a wider viewing audience by adhering to PG13 guidelines. In the process, however, it loses the enthralling horror and seductive nature that has been a classic part of the Dracula legend for decades.
In its place we now have Luke Evans cast as the dreaded warrior, Vlad the Impaler, who has set aside his sword in favour of the quite family life. But he’s still haunted by an appropriately noble, yet tragic, back-story. Not exactly the stuff of nightmares.
The plot thickens to the consistency of weak gruel when, in order to defend his homeland from his enemies, he enters into a dark pact with Charles Dance – Master Vampire. Portrayed in the more traditionally gruesome visage of the living dead, the interaction between the two at this stage, albeit short lived, is one of the few redeeming features of the film.
The conditions of this unholy sacrament are, it has to be said, a little confusing. On the one hand we see Dracula unable to tolerate direct sunlight for any length of time, although he seems fine under any kind of shroud or cloud. He gets nauseous around shiny silver objects and has, of course, an ever growing hankering for the red stuff! But on the plus side he gains a pretty sweet array of infernal abilities for a three-day duration, with which to smite his foes. So… super strength and super speed, check. Ability to commune with and control various types of nocturnal wildlife, check. And, for the icing on the cake, the ability to transform into an actual swarm of bats allowing for extra fast travel and shiny 21st century CGI-based combat effects.
So, part of the deal is that Dracula now has three days to accomplish his goals and resist the urge to drink human blood least he be cursed and end up in the creepy cave of skulls for all eternity. At least, that’s what I thought. When Dracula inevitably succumbs to his thirst however, (all for a just cause mind) neither he nor the vampire who sired him appear to have any restrictions whatsoever.
The thought springs to mind that with a runtime of only 92 minutes, more time could have been spent on general character building, specifically Dracula’s transformation into a creature of the night. The film gives the impression of being a prequel to something interesting, but there is definately something missing. I can only hope plans for future films have not been jeopardised by this less than epic taster.
Author – Andrew, Prestwich store