'Dracula Untold' Review: Well, That Sucked
Here is the quote-unquote untold story that Dracula Untold posits: Vlad the Impaler was once a captive child of the evil Turkish army, but was eventually freed, where he returned to Transylvania to rule as their prince. He heralded ten years of peace, married a pretty blonde Christian woman, and had an adorable moppet of a boy. The Turks, to whom he’s been paying tribute to all this time, return demanding 1000 boys for their army. Vlad instead makes a deal with a vampire living in a nearby mountain, becomes Dracula, slaughters the evil Turks even though he basically loses everything he loves anyway, and goes on to become the character we all know and love, only not really.
That’s the whole movie. It’s fucking terrible. It’s terrible in every way a movie can be terrible. It’s badly written, the dialogue is an assembly line of garbled cliches, and it mangles any sense of fidelity to either history or Stoker’s novel. The acting is routinely laughable, with Luke Evans sneering and growling whenever he isn’t frowning or trying to look tragically put-upon. His simpering sweetheart of a wife (Sarah Gadon) has two settings, crying and gazing adoringly. The Turkish emperor (Dominic Cooper) is inexplicably malevolent and stupid, despite a supposed friendship with Vlad. Tywin fucking Lannister is in this, with Charles Dance playing the tormented demon who creates Dracula, and he looks like a drunk mummy who borrowed Jabba the Hutt’s tongue, clad in a bathrobe and an Old Navy hoodie.
What else? The special effects consist of Evans either turning into bats, or summoning bats. That’s it. Sure, he’s strong and fast and all that, but his basic attack is bats. Lots of bats. Lots of not-very-well-rendered bats. This is the battiest movie I’ve ever seen. It has more bats than that other bat movie. You know, Bats? The action scenes are filmed completely incoherently, full of that headache-inducing speedup-slowdown-speedup technique that we can probably blame Zack Snyder for. But mostly, bats are the extent of his power. Bats. He decimates 100,000 turks with bats. Also, he’s fast. And glares a lot. Did I mention the bats?
There isn’t much else to say about Dracula Untold. It’s directed by first-timer Gary Shore, so I don’t have much to comment on there. One of the writers’ names is Burk Sharpless, and that’s literally the most fun thing about this movie. Apparently Charlie Cox is in there somewhere, but I’ll kick my own dick before I can figure out who he played, because everyone is decked out in beards and long hair and ridiculously ornate and elaborate costuming (so many studs and buckles, you guys!). The costume design is pitiable. Worst of all, out of all of these egregious sins? The film is goddamn boring. It’s one of the few mercifully short movies I’ve seen, clocking in at 92 minutes, and it felt like twice that. It’s a lot of talk about love and protection and monsters and nobility and then a few minutes of bats and swords and more bats and then more shitty dialogue and then again with the goddamn bats.
Dracula Untold is a dumb, boring bucket of shit. Don’t go see it.