As a young boy Vlad was taken to live with the Turks who demanded a thousand young boys from his father's Kingdom to train for warfare. In order to keep the peace between the Kingdoms, his father gave him up. Vlad grew to be a fierce warrior and was known throughout the land as Vlad the Impaler, a practice he employed to strike fear into the heart of his enemies. Over the long years as a grown man he just wanted the killing to be over and to make peace with all he had done. When his indenture was over he returned to his small Kingdom and with his family ruled the lands peacefully.
All this changed however when a rival King wanted to expand his army and again demanded of Vlad's Kingdom another 1000 boys, including his son the first born of the ruler, as tradition dictated. Having known Mehmed (Domenic Cooper as the rival King) as a boy he tried to plead with him based on the friendship they had when they were young. This however fell on deaf ears and left Vlad with no choice but to do all he could to protect his land and his family. He returns to a mountain top where lives a monster he has never seen but knows of. It had once taken two of his best men and he had seen its powers. In desperation he makes a pact with the devil and so begins his life as the blood sucking vampire we all know.
At 92 minutes, it's not a very long movie. I did love all that I saw and it definitely kept me engaged. The scenes, the sets, the costumes, the special effects, the cinematography, you can't really fault. However if I had to be picky I would say they could have done so much more with this movie. If it is being brought into this century of advanced technology and it's being updated, why not make the story meatier. Why not create more substance in developing the characters. Much like the trend of going back in time to bring a movie forward to its present day predecessors i.e. Batman Begins (Christian Bale in 2005), Star Trek (Chris Pine in 2009) I do believe they could have really built up characters we could have got to know and love. I for one would have loved to see a story steeped deeply in the past to understand how the character developed.
As it stands, you could just think of it as watching the story of a moment in time, much like the Mel Gibson movie of 2004, The Passion of Christ, which tells the tale of the last 12 hours in the life of Christ. I'd be happy with that if we can just discount the fact that Dracula has become a superhero with superhuman attributes in strength, vision and hearing. Silver has also become his biggest enemy as he can control the weather with the wave of his hands as he does with the bats. Come to think of it, why could he not just have waved away the silver from afar as he did the bats. You get my point. As I mentioned, I was happy with the movie as I watched it with blinders on. I'm happy to not be picky and just enjoy the entertainment for what it is. I do lament though that they could have really given us an epic story we could salivate over but they did not rise to the challenge. For what was on screen, I'm happy to give it a 6.5 out of 10.
While short and with some lacks as you mention, at least this sounds like a more realistic look at Vlad the Impaler, a true personage from history (though where it crosses into vampirism is difficult to know, depending on whether one believes in vampires at all!).