Dracula Untold

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Dracula Untold

You might think that the subject of Dracula has pretty much been done to death (seriously, what more was there left to be said after Dracula 3000?). Yet the actual origin of Dracula has been sadly neglected over the years, with the sinister vampire just generally assumed to have either been born bad or become a vampire through sheer force of evil will. So while this origin story is pretty basic stuff, it still manages to seem surprisingly fresh – and there’s nothing wrong with a basic story so long as it’s told well.
Prince Vlad Tepes (Luke Evans) is the wise and just ruler of his Eastern European kingdom of Transylvania – which is a problem, because as a vassal state of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire, he’s basically a middle manager. So when future sultan Mehmed (Dominic Cooper) turns up demanding both his usual trunkful of silver and a thousand boys to serve in his army, Vlad (who had the same thing happen to him as a kid and clearly didn’t enjoy the experience) decides to fight back. Usually his tiny kingdom wouldn’t stand a chance, but Vlad has a secret weapon: a monster (Charles Dance) living in nearby Broken Tooth Mountain that drinks blood, fears the sun, and will share his dreadful power – for a price.
The idea of Vlad discarding his humanity to save his kingdom is one that resonates in the age of an endless War on Terror, while his vampire superpowers are suitably effective yet horrific (despite the relatively bloodless M rating).
It’s hardly a blood-sucking classic, but as a solid take on a neglected side of the Dracula tale, this doesn’t suck.