This is an epic rendition of Dracula’s origin story; a grey zone that wasn’t often covered in cinema history until now. We learn how the count acquired his castle and why he’ll hide there for centuries to come. We explicitly learn who turned him into a vampire and see it all happen. Because the infamous vampire is protagonized, Dracula Untold isn’t exactly a horror movie.
Heavy 3D and compositing make this film more entertaining than it should be. The avid Castlevania fan will recognize familiar fighting patterns and effects. Others will see in Dracula Untold an extrapolation of the introduction segment of 1992’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula’s; right down to the set and costume design. What you ultimately get is a cool polished product hindered by a boring premise.
Vlad the Impaler earns his grotesque title in a romanticized speculation à la Batman Begins but with fantasy. We are constantly asked to sympathize with a flawed human and not the sadist he should be if his acts are to generate the biggest horror franchise there is. By the time the credits roll, what we have is a fallen superhero and not pure evil. The movie looks good but it is an empty shell.