In the interests of full disclosure, I will admit that I am a big fan of vampires. By vampires, I mean proper vampires: blood-sucking Nosferatus with pallid skin and bloody fangs whose ultimate goal is to create an army of the undead, or something like that. As a result, I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt to almost any new attempt to tell a vampire story. But with the upcoming Dracula Untold looking more and more like Underworld Redux, it’s a bit of a struggle even for me.
Dracula Untold is not, as might be hoped, the true story of Vlad Tepes, the Romanian ruler whose reputation as “Vlad the Impaler” partially inspired author Bram Stoker to create his famous vampire. No, Dracula Untold is a vampire movie about how Vlad transforms into a bloodsucker in order to keep the peace in Transylvania and stop Mehmet (Dominic Cooper) from taking Vlad’s son and a thousand other boys into his army. To this end, Vlad comes across Caligula (Charles Dance, looking rather vampiric), who decides to turn him because, as this new clip states, “the world needs a monster.”
Really? Is that the best you can come up with? “The world needs a monster?” While I am all for villains-as-heroes narratives, this one stretches it just a little bit with that kind of dialogue. This film seems to be dwelling in the Underworld/Van Helsing milieu, turning a good horror story into an action-adventure with sympathetic monsters. Whether that’s good or bad must depend on your perspective.
We might hope that Dracula Untold is better than what we see in this clip – Charles Dance at least looks like a proper Nosferatu – but somehow I do not hold out much hope. Vampires have been well and truly defanged since the halcyon days of Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee. There just are no good monsters any more.
Dracula Untold will come to theaters in October. Check out the latest clip below and let us know what you think.