I’m not lost for words when it comes to Dracula Untold. This atrocious film may be a shoe-in contender for the worst film of 2014.
The plot goes like this: Vlad the Impaler is a child soldier, trained to kill by the Turks. He escapes from this duty and is subsequently made prince of Transylvania. On a reconnaissance mission with his soldiers, Vlad and his soliders discover a Turkish helmet. In their search for the man, they enter a cave, where a sorcerer/vampire takes out Vlad’s soldiers. This creature proves to be helpful – but more on that later.
When the Turks arrive at Easter, they are offered silver coins as a tribute. The Sultan declines this offer, demanding 1,000 boys be handed over to be trained up as soldiers for the Turkish army. Vlad assures his wife, Mirena, that his son Ingeras will not leave them. When negotiations go south and Vlad ends up killing some Turks in what was meant to be a handover agreement, chaos ensues. The Turks orchestrate a deployment of soldiers to attack Transylvania.
Vlad goes back to the sorcerer/vampire to request a transfer of power. After rattling off some terms and conditions (if you drink blood in 72 hours you become me, you get burnt by light and you get the power of 100 men etc) he becomes a force of nature. His senses are heightened, he has an ability to cover large amounts of ground very quickly by developing a bat power stealth and his strength is incredible.
So where does everything go disastrously wrong? Once the powers inhabit Vlad, the audience are attacked by a bombardment of special effects, with a special emphasis on extreme long shots of the Turkish army getting obliterated by Vlad. After a while you really begin to wonder what exactly is going on, especially with the power. It is as if God has manifested his power into one man.
Then there’s the crosscutting between the Turks and the Transylvanians, who are heading towards a monastery on high ground. Twenty minutes of “That’ll hold them off” and “Send some more soldiers” results in more ridiculously choreographed battle scenes. Of course all seems lost until a certain someone arrives.
I personally lost it when a key character sacrificed themselves, the silver coins proved to be decisive, and the whole thing was topped off by an ending to forget.
Next to Bram Stoker’s brilliant book Dracula, Dracula Untold doesn’t hold up.