Quick Hit: This tale of how Dracula came to be has been left untold for a reason.
With the rise of movies like 300 and Watchmen (which both happen to be Zack Snyder films), stylized action tends to be all the rage these days. I’m not particularly opposed to it, especially when it serves a story-telling purpose. However, it’s getting a bit overdone, and so having watched this gritty action reboot of Dracula, I can attest to the fact that yes, it’s definitely overdone.
We pick up the story with an overlong narration that happens to feature some beautiful shots. Vlad the Impaler (Luke Evans) is the star of the Turkish army, having been taken from his Transylvanian home as a young boy and trained into a terrific soldier. Now he’s back as the Prince of Dar… excuse me, Transylvania. The Turks are back and want more boys, and he doesn’t want to let his own son go. So he goes and finds a beast (read: vampire) in a mountain who is wonderfully played by Charles Dance – my boy Tywin Lannister from Game of Thrones.
From there, the movie, which actually had me mildly interested, particularly with the Dance appearance… just falls off the rails.
It’s disappointing, because you can feel the horror lurking around the edges of the movie. Picturesque, Gothic backdrops lend a lot of mood to the movie, and Evans does an admirable job at bringing emotion to the role. But what’s really unfortunate is that in the rush to get to the action, some really beautiful shots get rushed past. There are also some moments where character motivation is pushed entirely to the side, just to get to the next battle. And they mess with the rules of being a vampire, right from the get go. When rebooting one of your horror classics, I understand the temptation to make it feel new. But that doesn’t mean we have to rewrite everything.
The side characters in this movie are an absolute joke. Dracula’s wife is pretty much there to be a screamer and a bunch of cleavage. The son is only there to advance the plot. And Dracula’s seconds in command look horribly inept again and again. That’s to say nothing of the fact that outside of one battle, despite the fact that he’s immortal, he continues to use things like bats to fight people. And he somehow has control over the weather at times, but not at others.
This movie is a mess, and is exactly why Universal is failing in their set-up of a Dark Universe. It has to be focused on the horror and less on the action for true horror fans to be interested. Take note of how well It has done. This movie only gets a “D+” from me.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"