Film Review: Artificially Glorified ‘Dracula Untold’ Lacks Reason for Being Retold

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Average: 5 (2 votes)

CHICAGO – For moviegoers, each new film is a chance to escape, feel, fear, cry, be thrilled or laugh. Filmmakers and actors want you to experience this range of emotions, but producers and investors care most about the film making money. That’s why Hollywood is scared of truly original stories. Originality is an unknown without a built-in fan base. Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

To minimize their risk and inspire confidence in a return on investment, most new films these days are based on a best-selling book (or a series), a beloved comic book or a remake of an already famous character from the past. Original films like “Juno” and “Once” happen once in a blue moon. They take a huge viral following to break free and impress at the box office.

Going into a short feature-length film like “Dracula Untold,” which is only 92 minutes, you already know it’s following a safety formula. After the dozens of Dracula films preceding it, this new story takes no risks. It feels like it was made because someone at Universal Pictures thought: “Hey, it’s been quite a while since we’ve done our 1979 ‘Dracula’ with Frank Langella. We’d might as well return to our well and do it again. Nothing better to do.”

StarRead Adam Fendelman’s full review of “Dracula Untold”.

Before this one, Universal has had seven previous Dracula films. Since 1979, we’ve seen from other studios 1992’s “Dracula” from Bram Stoker with Gary Oldman, 2000’s “Dracula 2000” from Wes Craven with Gerard Butler and 2012’s “Dracula 3D” from Dario Argento with Thomas Kretschmann.

To bring this film back from the grave now, it can’t look like you’re out of new stories and you’re trying to harness the buying power of a beloved villain. But that’s exactly the trap “Dracula Untold” falls victim to. It’s artificially glorifying Dracula without having a reason for the retelling.

“Dracula Untold” stars Luke Evans, Dominic Cooper, Sarah Gadon, Charles Dance, Art Parkinson, Diarmaid Murtagh, Paul Kaye and William Houston from director Gary Shore, characters by Bram Stoker, writers Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless and producer Michael De Luca. It has a running time of 92 minutes and opened on Oct. 10, 2014. The film is rated “PG-13” for intense sequences of warfare, vampire attacks, disturbing images and some sensuality.

StarContinue for Adam Fendelman’s full review of “Dracula Untold”.

Luke Evans in Dracula Untold
Luke Evans stars as Vlad/Dracula in “Dracula Untold”.
Photo credit: Universal Pictures

StarContinue for Adam Fendelman’s full review of “Dracula Untold”.

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