The forgotten vampire movie storming the Netflix charts
(Credits: Universal Pictures)

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The forgotten vampire movie storming the Netflix charts

As both the most famous and iconic vampire in pop culture and a proud member of the public domain, no form of media ever goes too long without getting a new twist on Dracula.

Bram Stoker inadvertently created a different kind of monster from the one he committed to the page in such unforgettable fashion when his novel was published in 1897, with Transylvania’s most famous resident having been a fixture of screens both big and small almost ever since.

It’s probably fair to say that Francis Ford Coppola’s lavish gothic horror is the best blockbuster version of the tale to be told in cinema in the modern era, but Gary Shore’s Dracula Untold can at least lay claim to being among the most forgettable and perhaps the single most unfortunate.

Although there is some sumptuous costume design on display, was anybody really asking for an origin story that explained how legendary warrior Vlad III ended up becoming a bloodsucking nightmare? Based on the lukewarm reception from both critics and paying customers, that question pretty much answered itself.

Luke Evans takes on the title role in the 15th century fantasy epic, but war is always lurking just over the horizon. When Dominic Cooper’s Sultan Mehmed II shows up on the scene and demands a thousand of Vlad’s younger subjects to bolster his army, tension simmers. Naturally, he decides the easiest way to gain the upper hand is to make a visit to Charles Dance’s cave-dwelling creature, who promises him immortality and the means to defeat his enemies.

Dracula Untold is occasionally a very nice movie to look thanks to the aforementioned costuming and some ornate production design, but it’s not a very interesting one. It also ended up suffering a truly embarrassing fate when it went out of its way to be folded into the worst attempt at a shared universe in cinematic history, only to be immediately discarded as canon.

Once production had wrapped, reshoots were ordered to add the addendum that places Evans’ Dracula in the modern day, which was inserted at the studio’s behest to establish him as part of the incoming Dark Universe. However, when Alex Kurtzman came aboard The Mummy, he decided that he wasn’t interest. In a blackly hilarious twist, though, his Tom Cruise vehicle bombed and the entire thing was abandoned after failing twice over in quick succession.

Still, for whatever reason, Dracula Untold has managed to sink its fangs into Netflix subscribers by emerging as the platform’s third most-watched movie of the week. It’s a second life, sure, but unlike its protagonist, it’ll likely be a short one.