DRACULA UNTOLD

PrintE-mail Written by Dominic Cuthbert

BLU-RAY REVIEW: DRACULA UNTOLD / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: GARY SHORE / SCREENPLAY: MATT SAZAMA, BURK SHARPLESS / STARRING: LUKE EVANS, DOMINIC COOPER, SARAH GADON, CHARLES DANCE, PAUL KAYE, ART PARKINSON / RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 9TH

Dracula Untold marks the first feature film for Gary Shore, who offers up an origin story which further plumbs the depths of Stoker’s creation, demystifying literature’s perennially bad boy. Screenwriters Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless ditch all semblance of historical context for a Batman-lite plot, imagining notorious wrongdoer Vlad the Impaler as a conflicted but ultimately wholesome guy.

Shore appropriates Game of Thrones’ visual style, and even pilfers three of its actors in Charles Dance, Paul Kaye and Art Parkinson. Luke Evans has tremendous screen presence, and makes for a dashing leading man in his armour, but his performance doesn’t much differ from his turn as tortured bowman Bard in The Hobbit. There’s plummy English accents aplenty posing as Romanians, and even Dominic Cooper bronzing up wasn’t enough to set the cast alight.

The special effects are seamless and prove to be one of the films strengths, though style very rarely outweighs substance. The battle scenes, which make up a fair chunk of proceedings, look more like a video game; think Dracula: Total War.

The film borrows plenty from Coppola’s gothic, arty-tinged 1992 adaptation, especially in the opening sequence. Shore throws in plenty of Zach Snyder-isms and some great wide-angled long shots taken straight out of Bergman’s Seventh Seal. It’s worth the cover price for the extras alone, which prove to be more entertaining than the film itself.

Special Features: Audio commentary / Four featurettes / Alternate opening / Deleted scenes
 

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