DRACULA UNTOLD is more like Dracula Retold. The latest screen interpretation of the classic tale about the Prince of Darkness is a retelling of the historical character Vlad Tepes, mingled with the mythological vampire Bram Stoker detailed in his Gothic novel “Dracula.” This film has a foot firmly placed in both worlds.
Similar to the Dracula introduced by Francis Ford Coppola in BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA, director Gary Shore plays a little fast and loose with the historical details, but does get all the major points correct. Vlad Tepes was a vicious ruler and general, who was known for his cruelty toward enemies and citizens. In an effort to humanize and create a viable hero (or anti-hero), this new Dracula seems to carry guilt for actions against this people as a necessary evil. It makes Luke Evans' portrayal of Vlad Dracula as a man under siege from his own acts and his enemies fitting. As Turks threaten the borders of his homeland, and having already witnessed the type of cruelty they will inflict on his outnumbered citizenry, he seeks a way to combat the inevitable. This is the point where history and myth collide.
Vlad turns to the one thing he knows will drive the Turks away. Their fear of a monster. He strikes a deal with a proverbial devil to gain the powers that will destroy the enemy. But there's a catch (there's always a catch):
he has vampiric powers for three days. If on the third day he has not succumbed to his blood-lust he will revert back to human. No harm no foul. [I must admit I liked the use of the three day rule as it continues the lore of inversion of the Trinity and the Resurrection.]
What follows is standard action/adventure: call to arms, battles, reversal of fortune, climatic fight. It all works and the addition of the horror elements pushes things in a new direction (although reminiscent to THE MUMMY.)
So, while DRACULA UNTOLD expands on ideas that have been seen before, it succeeds at being an entertaining entry into the long history of Dracula on screen.