Looking at Dracula Untold on my movie blog today.
But then, occasionally, this film remembers that it’s a Dracula film, and therefore, it’s a horror film. Whenever it remembers this it comes to a vivid kind of unlife. The scenes that work best are the scenes in the elder vampire’s cave. Charles Dance’s elder vampire, unnamed in the text of the film, is one of the few genuinely frightening vampires to grace the screen in quite some time. Part of this is the actor—Dance is adept at skin crawling villainy. Part of it is the visual design of the character. Part of it is how he’s written. Whatever else. There’s a strange alchemy in all of this that makes him easily the most compelling thing in the film. Beyond these scenes, though, the film turns electric when, having embraced his vampirism after the three day grace period, Vlad leads a cohort of newly created vampires against Mehmet’s army in order to rescue his son. These scenes have a vaguely apocalyptic feel to them and are more vivid and engaging than any of the mass spectacles the film has previously served to the audience. And those forests of impaled enemies? You get those right up front. It’s a haunting image.