This movie has been languishing on my DVR for quite a while, so I finally grabbed some popcorn and settled in.
I’m always interested in new interpretations of the Dracula myth. I’ve read the book a few times, and enjoyed the 1992 movie “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”. This one plays on the historical figure of Vlad the Impaler, a Romanian prince who lived in the fifteenth century, known for his cruelty and impaling of enemies.
In Dracula Untold (2014, directed by Gary Shore), Vlad (Luke Evans) is a loving husband and father, who will do anything to protect his people. Taken hostage by the Turks as a child to ensure his father’s loyalty to the Sultan, Vlad now rules his kingdom and pays tribute to the Turks to keep the peace. On a scouting trip, he and his men encounter a terrifying supernatural creature in a cave atop Broken Tooth Mountain. Vlad learns that centuries before, a man had made a terrible bargain with a demon; he got the demon’s powers but became stuck in that cave forever until someone else comes along to take up the burden.
During an Easter celebration, the Turks barge in and demand 1,000 boys for their armies. They also demand Vlad’s young son (Art Parkinson) as a hostage, just as he had been held captive years before. At first, he feels compelled to acquiesce, but at the last moment changes his mind and slaughters the Turks sent to bring his boy back. Now he’s in big trouble and needs a miracle to save his people.
He races toward Broken Tooth Mountain to face the demon-like creature he had encountered earlier–he wants his powers, and sees it as the only way to defeat the Turks. He faces the vampire (Charles Dance) and agrees to his deal: he’ll get the powers, and if he refrains from drinking human blood for three days, he’ll go back to normal. If not, then he’ll be a monster for eternity, and agrees to help the present vampire get revenge on the demon who tricked him into his present state.
Simple enough, right? Right. It’s fun watching Vlad take on the entire Turkish army by himself (with his millions of bats), but you just know things are going to go terribly wrong. He’s pretty much useless by day, his own people start to distrust and fear him, the thirst for human blood becomes unbearable, and personal tragedy isn’t far behind.
I thought this was an entertaining movie for what it was, dark and sweeping and wrenching, and the ending promises a sequel at some point (remember the bargain with the original vampire?). I’d go see it.