Written By: Thomas Baum
Directed By: Joe Chappelle
Direct to Television
Have you been waiting for a movie that casts aside all the legends of Vlad Dracula and presents the accurate historical story of his life? Well this isn’t it. But it's probably as close as you're going to get... And to be fair, the first 95 minutes or so are very accurate to what we know of his life. Given that tales of his cruelty were spread far and wide and greatly exaggerated, this is fairly impressive.
The movie begins with Vlad being escorted to the Orthodox Church who are deciding whether to excommunicate him. The majority of the movie takes place as a series of flashbacks during his interview with the priests, providing the background and history of his life. This part is extremely good. From what I have researched of his life, everything is fairly consistent with modern historical knowledge of his life. There were a few minor mistakes however, such as they said he was born in Transylvania when he was in fact born in Sighisoara. And for some reason they stuck in a theme that a statue of the Virgin Mary wept tears of blood at his birth...
But these problems can easily be overlooked. The film is very well done, the cinematography and acting were both excellent. The characters were well developed and the plot was interesting without falling into fictional tales of Dracula. But.....
Where the film really lost me was in the last 10 minutes. First, Vlad was killed by one of the priests who was convinced he was the anti-christ. Then to top it all off, he rose from the dead! And not only that, but he then joined his wife who had killed herself years before to walk the earth as immortal souls. And then, in the closing scenes, they claimed that an expedition in 1931 to explore his tomb discovered nothing but animal bones in his grave.
Now, what the fuck? They were doing so good up to the end, and then it's like almost as an afterthought they decided to tie it into Bram Stoker's story. I confess, I don't get it. There is no historical evidence that I can find which indicates the priest killed Vlad. There's no evidence I can find that he rose from the grave. And there's no evidence of an exploration that discovered animal bones in his tomb.
But still, this movie is worth a watch. Just turn it off 15 minutes early and pretend it ended with him dying under unknown circumstances...