Most people are familiar with Bram Stroker's, Dracula, the book that spawned a plethora of films about creatures of the night as well as some faithful and non-faithful book adaptations throughout the 20th and 21nd centuries. Even though Dracula was a work of fiction it took some names, places and events from history.
For instance the name Dracula is derived from the Chivalric order called the Order of the Dragons who swore to uphold Christianity in the face of the Turks. This order included Vlad as a member. It is at this point Dracula's tale splits from history and goes on to tell how he cursed God and the devil and became a creature of the night that we all know today.
This backstory is what Universal Studios and first time full-length feature director Gary Shore try to unravel through the film Dracula Untold. They focus on the History instead of going through the same boring Dracula story that most moviegoers have now seen over 20-30 times.
Dracula Untold has a great cast of actors and upcoming actors in the world film. Luke Evans (The Hobbit trilogy, Fast & Furious Six) stars as Vlad himself a cunning warrior who leads his army against the relentless Turks led by Mehmed (Dominic Coper; Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Captain America: The First Avengers). When it looks like all hope is lost Vlad is asked to surrender his son (Art Parkinson; Game of Thrones) to the Turks as tribute. However Vlad and his wife Mirena (Sarah Gadon; A Dangerous Mind, The Amazing Spider-man 2), can not live with this and Vlad slaughters a unit that had come to collect him. Knowing this means impeding doom Vlad searchers for other ways to help defend his son, wife, and his people.
Dracula Untold is a very unforgiving film. It starts out assuming the audience has some knowledge of Dracula and Vlad The Impaler and throws you right into their battles with the Turks. Luke Evans gives an amazing performance as Vlad. Audience members are drawn to his character and you sympathize with what he has to do in the name of love. The rest of the cast performs their roles very well and I can not find a weak link among any of the actors.
For first time feature-length film director, Gary Shore easily puts the audience in the action of the film, and lets you forget the worries of the modern world as he plunges you into Vlad's story. His directing style is a bit cold, but for a war film it is the perfect way to go. While not relying on a lot of special effects the story is easily lets audience members suspend their disbelief for the 92-minute release.
The ending of Dracula Untold leaves it begging for a sequel. However, only the box-office will predict if this ever happens (Universal and Shore have said there will be one if enough money is made on the first go around). In my mind Dracula Untold is the best Dracula film to date, even super seeding Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula.