Untold Reveals Dracula’s Gory Origin

Isabel Owens, Lifestyle Editor

Dracula Untold, the newest spinoff of Bram Stoker’s original novel Dracula, fuses the story of ancient Romanian prince Vlad “The Impaler” Tepes with vampiric folklore in a retelling of a war-driven hero’s transformation into a monster. Released in theaters on October 10, the movie laces the themes of violence, psychosis, and heart-wrenching romance into the story of Dracula’s genesis.

Fast & Furious 6 star Luke Evans transitions from one action role to another, playing the part of Vlad the Impaler, a warrior matured from his days of juvenescent battle but still in rivalry with his childhood adversary Mehmed, the ruler of the Ottoman Empire.

Antagonist Mehmed, played by Dominic Cooper, reconnects with Vlad to demand that he provide 1,000 children, including his son, to the Turkish army. Devastated by such a request, Vlad refuses, and Mehmed vows to destroy his empire. In an effort to save those he reigns over, Vlad forges a deal with a supernatural force that promises to give him the upper hand over Mehmed.

The Dracula depicted in this movie is revolutionary. Evans pulls off the rough, stoic-on-the-outside-but-smouldering-with-emotion-on-the-inside look, without looking too musty. Sarah Gadon, who plays the beautiful wife of Vlad, complements his character appropriately.

Some argue that Evans doesn’t play an entirely incongruous Dracula, but one with a fresh aesthetic. “[Director] Shore turns out to be adept at creating a visual shorthand to his film – one that both honors the vast iconography of the Dracula character, while also managing to root that iconography in a new aesthetic,” said Kofi Outlaw for Screen Rant.

I agree that the Dracula portrayed in this film does not retain the same iconic persona as in past films and literature, and seems more human than stereotypically vampiric. However, this shift is the intention behind the film. I appreciate Dracula Untold‘s twist on what could have been an already-done story.

Additionally, I was surprised that the Motion Picture Association of America granted Dracula Untold a PG-13 rating. I thought that with its gruesome illustrations of war, attempted-rape scenes, and general violence, the movie would have a more restricted viewership. Although the movie isn’t a typical horror film, I imagine that the excessive gore might be uncomfortable for young viewers.

The frequent battle scenes of Dracula Untold grew monotonous. Nevertheless, the storyline, although ambitious, was well-contrived and could have simply been better executed with a little less action and a little more explanation.