Dracula Untold

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Dracula Untold Movie Poster Image
Violent but dull Dracula tale should have stayed untold.
  • PG-13
  • 2014
  • 92 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 15 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

A re-telling of the Faust legend -- in which a character makes an unholy deal for great power, with a terrible price. Faustian deals don't often come up in real life, but the idea still gives you something to think about.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Dracula, a.k.a. Vlad the Impaler, is the movie's hero. He's like a superhero, with an origin story and superpowers, and he's basically trying to protect his family -- but he does so with vengeance and hatred and by killing thousands without remorse or consequences. He makes a Faustian deal for more power.

Violence

Heavy fantasy violence, with lots of battles, sword-fighting, fist-fighting, and death. Vampires attack with quick, jump-shock movements. A character's arms are sliced off, shown very quickly. Characters are shown impaled on spears. But considering all of that, very little blood is shown -- though a character does drink blood out of a broken skull. The main character is continually "burned" with silver and sunlight. Young boys are enslaved and put to work as soldiers; a woman is punched in the stomach.

Sex

A married couple kisses passionately. In an early scene, the man pulls the woman into the bathtub with him. In a later scene, she initiates sex, and they kiss and touch, but he pulls away. The male character is shown shirtless in several scenes, and the female character wears a dress that emphasizes her cleavage.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dracula Untold serves as the legendary vampire's origin story -- as well as a reboot of Universal Studios' series of classic monster movies. It's more of a war movie than a horror movie, with tons of fighting with both fists and swords, but very little blood is shown (pretty surprising/unrealistic, considering that arms are chopped off and characters are impaled...). There are some jump-shock scenes in which vampires suddenly attack. A character drinks blood from a broken skull. A married couple kisses passionately; they start to have sex but stop. The man is shown shirtless, and the woman wears a dress that emphasizes her cleavage. A woman and a young boy are the victims of violence and oppression.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byD818C August 14, 2019

Entertaining!

Upfront, this is not a good family night movie for two reasons: it can get a little dark or creepy at times [vampires and the whole blood drinking thing] and th... Continue reading
Adult Written byMatthew St Vinc... September 4, 2017

BluRay Review (Australia)

Let's just say the trailer for this film was all over the place but showed some pretty awesome scenes until this fist shaped swarm of bats slamming into th... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bymovie critic 24601 May 7, 2018

best movie ever

its a pretty awesome movie. not for young children at all. espically since part of the movie is about children being forced to fight in a war. but its pretty aw... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byAge critical reviews February 21, 2016

What's the story?

A child is taken by a sultan to be raised as a soldier; he grows into the fearsome, monstrous Vlad the Impaler. Years later, Vlad (Luke Evans) lives peacefully with his wife (Sarah Gadon) and young son. The current sultan (Dominic Cooper) has kept the peace but suddenly decides to again start collecting boys to train as soldiers. Desperate for power to stop this madness, Vlad makes a deal with a deadly creature in a cave (Charles Dance) for vampiric power; if he doesn't succumb to his thirst for blood for three days, he will revert to human again. If he does, he'll remain a vampire forever -- and also free the trapped creature from its prison. Can Vlad protect his family before his time runs out?

Is it any good?

Officially a reboot of the Universal Monster series, this movie is ugly, dreary, and dumb, focusing on stiff dialogue; endless shaky, gray battle scenes; and jumpy vampire attacks. It may be the dullest Dracula movie yet made. Essentially a bad superhero movie, it's more closely inspired by cheap-looking, disposable films like Legion, Priest, and Conan the Barbarian than by any classic monster movies.

Evans (Clash of the Titans, Immortals) is probably the best thing in the movie; he seems at home in this numbingly serious subgenre, but he's still a far cry from great Draculas like Bela Lugosi or Christopher Lee. Forgoing atmosphere, chills, and the iconic character's hypnotic, sensual allure, the filmmakers don't even seem to be aware of who Dracula was or what he was all about. And if this origin story was intended to shed more light on his legend, it was an effort best left untold.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Dracula Untold's violence. How much blood is shown? Does a lack of blood make a movie seem more or less violent? Why do you think filmmakers might include violent scenes but omit gore? 

  • Is the movie scary? How are vampires used in the story? Does it seem like a horror movie, or is it closer to other genres?

  • What's the appeal of Dracula? How does he differ in this movie than in other movies or stories?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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