Vampire stories (on TV and film) aren't exactly hard to come by nowadays, but next month's Dracula Untold could be a worthwhile and refreshing take on the sub-genre. The film has the makings of a solid ancient world war epic (see: the extended TV spot above), but with a supernatural horror twist and a very modern outlook towards how the man that was Vlad Tepes (Luke Evans) became the creature of the night known as Dracula - and, as trailers for the film emphasize, an interesting explanation for what drove him to embrace the darkness in the first place.
Luke Evans is no stranger to franchise material (see: The Hobbit, Fast and the Furious), though Dracula Untold will test his mettle as a leading man. Similarly, both the film's screenwriters (Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless) and director (Gary Shore) are first-timers hoping to make a splash with their debut feature-length effort.
Currently, Universal doesn't plan to start building a (rebooted) Shared Monster Universe until The Mummy in 2016, but it doesn't take a leap to assume that Evans' Dracula could enter the equation should Dracula Untold prove to be a hit. Evans, when we interviewed him on the movie's set, point out that because this film is an origins story for a non-aging character, a sequel can pretty much pick up at any point in time.
... Although, if the movie flops at the box office, it may instead go down as the Green Lantern of Universal's rebooted Monsters Universe, so there's that. Moving on...
The above Dracula Untold clip (via Metro) - featuring Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister on Game of Thrones) as the supernatural entity that gives Vlad his vampiric powers - once again highlights the idea that, in this film, Vlad starts out the story as a decent person, who is shaped by circumstance (and the personal choices he makes as a response) into something terrible.
We're seen a number of variations on this idea of well-meaning protagonists breaking bad (pun intended) in recent years. If the box office returns for this year's Maleficent are any indication, then filmgoers are, in fact, interested in seeing iconic villains (like Dracula) painted in a sympathetic light. If so, that should be welcome news for Universal, which is clearly banking on that being the case for Dracula Untold (judging by its marketing strategy for the film).
Dracula Untold opens in U.S. theaters on October 10th, 2014.