Dracula Untold
A man walking away from a large amount of bats.
IMAX exclusive theatrical release poster
Directed byGary Shore
Screenplay by
  • Matt Sazama
  • Burk Sharpless
Produced byMichael De Luca
CinematographyJohn Schwartzman
Edited byRichard Pearson
Music byRamin Djawadi[1]
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release dates
  • October 10, 2014 (2014-10-10) (United States)
  • October 3, 2014 (2014-10-03) (Northern Ireland)
Running time
92 minutes[2]
  • United States
  • Northern Ireland
Budget$70 million[3]
Box office$189 million[3]

Dracula Untold is a 2014 dark fantasy action film directed by Gary Shore in his feature film debut and written by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless.[4] Rather than focus on Irish novelist Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula, the film creates an origin story for its title character, Count Dracula, by portraying the story of Vlad the Impaler, of whom Stoker was unaware until he was well into writing that novel. Luke Evans portrays the title character, and Sarah Gadon and Dominic Cooper appear in supporting roles.

Principal photography began on August 5, 2013, in Northern Ireland. Universal Pictures released the film on October 10, 2014, in theatres and IMAX. Universal intends the film to be a reboot of the Universal Monsters franchises.[5]


This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. Please help improve it by removing unnecessary details and making it more concise. (October 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

In the middle ages, Vlad the Impaler is the prince of Transylvania. As a child, he was enslaved by the Turkish Empire and trained to be a soldier, but he eventually escaped his imprisonment and became Transylvania's ruler in adulthood, ensuring that the Turkish Empire never gains full control of the territory. During a scouting mission in a forest, Vlad and his soldiers discover a Turkish helmet in a stream, and fear that a Turkish scouting party has entered Transylvania territory. They follow the stream to a cave high in the mountains, where they are attacked by a vampire. While his men are killed, Vlad escapes the cave and steps out into the sunlight, where the vampire cannot follow him.

The next day, Vlad celebrates Easter with his wife Mirena, his son Ingeras and the subjects of Castle Dracula. The Turkish scouting party arrives unexpectedly, and as Transylvania is a tribute territory to the Turkish Empire, Vlad gives them their usual offering of silver coins, but they also demand 1,000 boys for the Turkish Army. Vlad denies this request, but his army is small and ineffective, therefore the Turks are undeterred. He later approaches the Turkish Sultan, Mehmed the Conqueror, who only threatens to bring war to Transylvania if he is not given the boys. In desperation, Vlad returns to the cave in the mountains and asks the vampire for help defending his people. The vampire offers him some of his own blood, which will temporarily turn Vlad into a vampire. He explains that this curse will last for three days, and if Vlad can resist the urge to drink blood throughout this time he will become human again, but warns that if he does drink blood before the end of the third day he will remain a vampire for all eternity. Seeing no other option, Vlad accepts the offer and consumes the vampire's blood.

Waking up in the forest afterwards, Vlad discovers he has been granted heightened senses, increased strength and the ability to transform into a flock of vampire bats. When he returns to Castle Dracula, the Turkish Army attack, but Vlad single-handedly kills every soldier with his new abilities and leaves one soldier alive to send a message to Mehmed. Determined to protect his people at all costs, Vlad instructs a massive party of Transylvanians to fall back to a mountain monastery named Cozia whose geography will hinder any Turkish attempt to take the facility. It is here that Vlad meets Shkelgim, who dubs himself Vlad's servant and offers him his blood, only for Vlad to show hostility and refuse the offer. During the second night, the Transylvanian party is ambushed by Turkish forces, and Vlad and his men engage them. Although victorious in the engagement Vlad's powers begin to attract attention from his closest advisers. The next day at the monastery, as Vlad attempts to rally his people ahead of the battle, his use of the demonic powers is exposed and the citizens at the monastery subsequently turn on Vlad, attempting to burn him to death in a tent. Angered over this perceived betrayal, Vlad- escaping the tent as the smoke created by the fire blocks out the sun- chastises his people before taking his leave.

That night, a massive Turkish force marches on the monastery. Vlad employs bats to defend the territory, however the incoming Turkish army turns out to be a decoy force deployed to allow a handful of Turks to infiltrate the monastery and kill the citizens within. Mirena's attempt to defend Ingeras from the Turks fails, and she ultimately falls to her death, despite Vlad's attempt to save her. Angered over the loss of his wife, Vlad embraces the darkness within himself and honours Mirena's dying request to drink her blood to give him the strength to save their son before Vlad's time as a vampire expires. Now a full-blooded vampire for all time, Vlad returns to the monastery to find a handful of survivors. He offers each the chance for vengeance, and gives them his blood to drink, transforming them into vampires as well.

At the primary Turkish Army camp, Mehmed and his men are preparing for a massive invasion of Europe when Vlad and his small band of vampires arrive. A battle erupts between the two forces, but Vlad's thirty-odd vampires are vastly superior to the thousands of Turkish soldiers, and the battle degenerates into an all-out massacre. While the vampires take their vengeance on the Turkish forces, Vlad seeks out Mehmed, who has taken Ingeras captive. Aware of the vampire's weakness to silver, the Sultan has lined the floors of his tent with silver coins, and engages in a battle with Vlad using a silver sword. Ultimately, despite his use of silver to weaken Vlad and a wooden stake to try and impale his heart, Mehmed's attempt to kill Vlad fails, with Vlad turning briefly into a flock of bats to escape his assault, staking Mehmed instead, and then drinks his blood, announcing that he is no longer Vlad the Impaler, he is Dracula, son of the devil.

With his enemy vanquished, Dracula and Ingeras emerge from the Sultan's tent, whereupon they are surrounded by the other vampires Vlad brought. Dracula's vampires demand to drink the child's blood, arguing that all humans are their enemies, and that Ingeras does not matter now that Dracula is prince to the vampires, but they are stopped by the unexpected presence of a Monk, who keeps the vampires at bay with a Christian cross. After consoling his son, Dracula instructs the monk to take him away, then uses his power to clear the cloud coverage. As sunlight washes across the Turkish camp, the transformed Transylvanians burn into dust, and Dracula stands tall and proud in the light for as long as he can before he too succumbs, collapsing to the ground, charred and burned.

In the aftermath of the battle, Vlad the Impaler is presumed dead and the Turkish army defeated, leaving Europe safe from invasion and occupation. Ingeras is crowned the new Prince of Transylvania, and the name "Dracula" is passed down to future generations as a legend. However, after finding Dracula on the brink of death, Shkelgim revives him by giving his blood to the vampire, who then remains out of the public eye.

In the present day, a woman named Mina who strikingly resembles Mirena is approached by a man who complements her flowers and recites her favourite piece of poetry, seemingly by coincidence. The man introduces himself as "Vlad", and the two depart together. Unbeknownst to him, the Master Vampire has also survived the centuries of time and proceeds to follow them, reciting the very words that he said to Vlad prior to turning him into a vampire: "Let the games begin."



Anybody who’s going to the film expecting a horror film, is going to be sorely disappointed. For me, it was telling a story. I was trying to tell a good drama, that has action-adventure elements to it.

—Gary Shore, director[11]

In 2007, director Alex Proyas was hired by Universal Studios to direct the film Dracula: Year Zero.[12] The film was to be produced by Michael De Luca and filmed in Australia.[13] Later, Universal ended the deals with Proyas and scheduled star Sam Worthington because of the high budget. It was announced on February 10, 2012, by Deadline.com that Irish director Gary Shore was in talks to direct.[4] Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless wrote the script for the new film.[14] On April 25, 2013, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Universal had announced that the film would be released on August 8, 2014.[15] On May 20, 2013, First Minister of Northern Ireland Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness announced that Universal would film Dracula in August in Northern Ireland.[16] On August 29, 2013, Variety reported that Legendary Pictures was considering co-financing the film.[17] Legendary's involvement in production was confirmed in May 2014.[18]


On January 25, 2010, it was announced that Sam Worthington was in negotiations to play Vlad the Impaler and the film was set to release in 2011.[19] On August 19, Worthington was confirmed to star in the film.[20] On February 10, 2012, Deadline confirmed that Universal closed the deal with Worthington.[4] On April 8, 2013, actor Luke Evans joined the cast, replacing Worthington to play the role of Vlad the Impaler, the man who would become the mythological bloodsucker Dracula.[6] On May 2, 2013, Sarah Gadon joined the cast to star alongside Evans.[7] On May 8 Variety announced that Dominic Cooper was in talks to join the cast.[8] On July 11, 2013, Zach McGowan also signed on, to play the role of Shkelgim, a gypsy chief.[10] On July 26, Samantha Barks joined the cast to play a character from Eastern European folk tales known as Baba Yaga, a beautiful young woman who transforms into a savage witch; her scenes were later cut from the film.[21] Along with Barks more cast was added, including Charlie Cox, Ferdinand Kingsley, William Houston and Thor Kristjansson, the latter of whom would play the role of Bright Eyes, an Eastern European taken as a slave as a young boy and now an assassin in the Ottoman Army.[9] Art Parkinson then joined on to play the role of Ingeras, son of Dracula.[9]

On October 15, 2014, it was announced that if the film would be included into the monsters universe then Charles Dance's character "Master Vampire" could appear in several monsters films, same as Samuel L. Jackson in Marvel films.[22]


On May 20, 2013, Universal confirmed that shooting would take place in Northern Ireland from August to November 2013.[23] The film's shooting officially began on August 5, 2013, starting in Roe Valley Country Park in NI.[24] The production company received permission for two days of shooting, on August 5-6, to film in the park.[25] Other location shooting took place throughout Northern Ireland.[26][27]

In September 2014, actor Evans revealed that every day after work he got training all the time, rehearsed with the stunt guys, and ate just chicken, beef, fish and green vegetables to get ready for the shoot of the film.[28]

Reshoots and Universal Monsters

On October 1, 2014, it was announced that reshoots had taken place shortly after the end of production to tie the movie into the planned Universal Monsters franchise, which was being rebooted.[29] Producer Alissa Phillips confirmed at the UK Premiere of the film that Dracula Untold was a part of the universe. She hoped that Evans' character might have a cameo in a future The Mummy film and also spoke of a potential sequel to Dracula to reboot the franchise.[30] In an interview with IGN, director Gary Shore stated "It's optional for them if they want to use it as that launching pad."[31] On October 15, THR reported that the ending scenes of the film hinted that the film Dracula Untold could be included into the monsters universe.[22]


Ramin Djawadi's score for the film was released by Backlot Music on October 7th on CD.[32] Djawadi was originally chosen to work on the film's musical score after his work on Iron Man and Clash of the Titans, and after signing on to score the film, he gave up his job of scoring the film Edge of Tomorrow, which was given to Christophe Beck.[33]


On April 25, 2013, Universal announced that the film would be released in theaters on August 8, 2014.[34] It was announced four months later that the film would be postponed until October 3, 2014.[35] The release date was pushed a third time to October 17, 2014.[36] The release date was changed for a fourth and final time to October 10, 2014, to give the film three weeks of play before Halloween.[37] The film was released in all formats including IMAX, and in over 25 foreign markets, on its opening weekend.[38]


Box office

North America

Dracula Untold was released in North America on October 10, 2014 across 2,885 theatres.[39] It earned $1.3 million from Thursday late night showings from 2,133 theatres[40][41][42] and $8.9 million on its opening day.[43][44] The film debuted at number two at the box office on its opening weekend behind Gone Girl ($26.8 million) grossing $24.5 million.[45] $4 million of the opening gross came from IMAX showings from 351 of its 2,887 locations which is the second-best October total behind only Gravity. 9 of the top 10 locations as well as 18 of the top 20 were in IMAX.[46] The film played 57% male and 61% over-25 years old.[47] On its second weekend the film earned $9.9 million (down 58%) for two week domestic total of $40.7 million.[48][49][50][51]

Outside North America

A few days ahead of its U.S. debut, Dracula Untold was released in 25 foreign markets and earned $21 million. It had a strong $5 million four-day opening in Mexico. The highest debuts came from Australia ($9 million), Germany ($4 million), Malaysia ($3 million) and France ($1 million).[52][53] The following weekend the film was released to over 42 foreign territories and earned $33.9 million from 5,481 screens for an overseas total of $62.6 million.[54] The film went number one in nine of the 17 new released territories.[55] It earned $2.5 million from 155 IMAX screens for an overall total of 4.5 million and an international total of $8.5 million.[56] On its second weekend the film earned $22.5 million from 6,200 dates in 55 territories for an overseas total of $95.7 million and a worldwide total of $136.4 million. Bowing in 14 new markets, Dracula Untold debuted at number one in nine of of the newly released markets which includes Bolivia, Colombia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Philippines, Slovakia, Thailand, Trinidad and Vietnam.[57] The film was released to four new markets in it's third weekend and earned $14.7 million from 7,400 screens in 59 territories bringing it's international cume to $117.7 million. The film went number one in all of the newly markets it was released in which includes Brazil ($2.7 million from 430 screens), Spain ($1.8 million from 312 screens); and Hungary ($238,000 from 49 screens).[58]

In it's fourth weekend the film added $12.4 million from 6,400 screens in 61 territories. The film opened in Italy at number one earning $3 milliom from 235 screens accounting 25% of the market shares. In Japan it earned $1.4 million from 308 screens. The film will have it's last new market release in Venezuela on November 21 which will further add to the film's revenue.[59]

Critical reception

Dracula Untold has received mixed reviews from critics; many criticized Dracula's characterization and pointing out many plot holes but praised Luke Evans performance, the story, and the visuals. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 24% based on 105 reviews; the average rating is 4.5/10. The site's consensus reads, "Neither awful enough to suck nor sharp enough to bite, Dracula Untold misses the point of its iconic character's deathless appeal."[60] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 40 out of 100, based on 30 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[61] Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter said, "Much like the recent, widely reviled I, Frankenstein, this misconceived project mainly signals a need to go back to the drawing board."[62] The Village Voice's Alan Scherstuhl criticized the film, "And so it was, and so it was dull, the greatest villain in all cinema bitten on the neck and drained of his hottest blood."[63] Kyle Anderson of the Entertainment Weekly gave the film a C grade and wrote, "It works neither as a sweeping historical epic nor as an action-horror hybrid."[64] Stephen Whitty wrote the negative review for The Star-Ledger, "If this Dracula can kill hundreds of enemies by himself - and he can, and does, in several dull and protracted battle scenes - then where's the suspense? If he's become a monster for noble reasons, then where's the dark conflict?"[65] The Seattle Times Moira MacDonald said, "It falls into that far-too-large category of studio offerings that aren't good enough to be noteworthy or terrible enough to be truly entertaining."[66]

A.A. Dowd of The A.V. Club said, "Neither the Dracula we need nor the one we deserve."[67] The "New York" magazine's Bilge Ebiri wrote, "I don't want to oversell this film. But in an era in which we've seen a lot of failed attempts to reinvent classic fantasy tales as CGI-action spectacles, it feels remarkably assured."[68] Film critic Mick LaSalle gave the film two stars out of four and wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle, "Here we have a vampire movie that brings together elements from other more popular movies."[69] Michael O'Sullivan of The Washington Post reviewed and responded in negative, "The film's problems aren't limited to liberal cadging from comic books. In fact, that's precisely what's best about the film, which occasionally boasts gorgeous visuals. But the movie doesn't know when to stop stealing."[70] Jordan Hoffman of the New York Daily News said, "The weapons, Turkish helmets and Romanian interiors are all gorgeous. If only the rest of this Lord of the Rings wanna-be were at the same level."[71] Kevin C. Johnson commented for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch "Dracula Untold feels longer than its 95-minute running time."[72]

The New York Post's Kyle Smith wrote, "This Vlad the Impaler has all the edge of Vlasic the pickle."[73] Brian Truitt of USA Today said, "At times Dracula Untold flirts with dullness so much that it might as well just stick a stake in the heart of Bram Stoker's legacy."[74] The Toronto Star's Peter Howell asked, "Whatever possessed the makers of Dracula Untold to think we'd be interested in a tragically unhip romance that backstories the infamous bloodsucker?"[75] The Boston Globe's Peter Keough criticized the film, "It's not so much untold as rewritten - if not by J.R.R. Tolkien than by some clever 12-year-old overstimulated by "The Lord of the Rings."[76] Film critic Ben Kenigsberg reviewed the film for The New York Times, "The movie is the latest multiplex filler to co-opt a classic tale only to drown it in computer-generated murk. Even the title has the ring of something created by committee."[77] James Berardinelli reviewed for website ReelViews, "A generic vampire tale in the Underworld vein that comes closer to the infamous Van Helsing than a memorable re-interpretation of a legendary monster."[78] The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Hiltbrand said, "The idea is to humanize one of the most fearful monsters in the Western crypt. But Dracula Untold goes way overboard, past domestication and into canonization."[79] Wesley Morris wrote for the website Grantland, "Most of the time, I found myself feeling like I was waiting for a turn with the gaming controls."[80]


On October 2, 2014, producer Alissa Phillips revealed at the UK premiere of the film that there might be a sequel to the film.[81]

See also


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  2. ^ "DRACULA UNTOLD (15)". British Board of Film Classification. September 24, 2014. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Dracula Untold (2014)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 2, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c "Universal Revives 'Dracula Year Zero' With Director Gary Shore". deadline.com. February 10, 2012. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
  5. ^ Barsanti, Sam (July 16, 2014). "Universal Is Officially Rebooting Its Monster Movies into an Avengers-style Universe". A. V. Club.
  6. ^ a b "Luke Evans to Star in Universal's 'Dracula' Reboot". hollywoodreporter.com. April 8, 2013. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
  7. ^ a b "Sarah Gadon Under 'Dracula' Spell for Universal". variety.com. May 2, 2013. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
  8. ^ a b "Universal's 'Dracula' Sinks Its Fangs Into Dominic Cooper". variety.com. May 8, 2013. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
  9. ^ a b c d e "'Les Miserables,' 'Game of Thrones' Actors Join Universal's 'Dracula'". hollywoodreporter.com. July 26, 2013. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
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