Vampire Academy (M)
Directed by: Mark Waters
Starring: Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry
Half a star
Review by: Julian Wright
Uber bitch Regina and her Plastics would rip Vampire Academy, a Mean Girls inspired teenage vampire flick, to shreds. They would not hesitate to paste unflattering head shots of these blood sucking characters in their burn book and scribble down the most heinous thing they could think of. They would be outraged to think that these blonde, airheaded but smoking hot vampire teens, who try to make “cool” teen phrases happen, were modeled after them. If they all went to the same school, these vampires would not be allowed to sit with the Plastics.
The plot heavy beginning plays like the opening of a serial, catching us up in the story of two teenage vampire runaways. Half vampire, half human and guardian in training Rose (Zoe Deutch) and her friend who she must protect Lissa (Lucy Fry), a vampire princess, escaped from their isolated school and have been on the run for a year, living incognito in the city. We learn they were in a horrendous car crash at some point which claimed the lives of Lissa’s parents, the besties are psychically linked and that there are three types of vampires. And that is just the first 10 minutes. All that is missing is a “Last week, on Vampire Academy…” voice-over.
What would usually take about half a film to explain and explore is rushed through with lightning speed and will leave your head spinning. Before you have a chance to let any of this sink in, the girls are captured and whisked back to the isolated Vampire Academy where the girls, the headmistress and any other supporting character they come into contact with speak in exposition (“explain it all” dialogue rivals the far more complex Inception, where it is actually warranted). Thickening the plot is a bitchy classmate, a nerdie newbie and someone leaving bloody threats for Lissa.
This film struggles with conveying plot, which it thinks is super confusing and complicated, assuming that the audience, most of whom have already read the books, wont be able to follow it. In actual fact, this all boils down to who has the hots for who. Yawn. Being a Mean Girls/Twilight mash up, the girls spend the majority of their time pining for high school hotties. Adding an ick factor is Rose’s crush on her teacher.
From the director of Mean Girls, Mark Waters and adapted from the books by his brother Daniel Waters who wrote the sharp and unapologetically pitch black Heathers, Vampire Academy is dripping with potential, none of which is realised. It ends up being the complete opposite of what you might expect from the pedigree involved, with neither the wit or high school insight of Mean Girls or the edginess of Heathers.
Had the brothers been aware of the camp value of this scenario, this could have been a hoot, particularly with some of the cringe worthy dialogue that the actors have to struggle through. Instead of playing up the innuendo and suggestive dialogue, this is played with an embarrassingly straight face without even a hint of a wink to the audience. It is hard to believe that the Waters didn’t know what they had when Lissa says to her crush in a small chapel retreat “This was my special place before it was your special place.” At least it offers some unintentional laughs.
If candy canes were being handed out, Mean Girls would get four (“You go, Glen Coco!”) but there would be none for Vampire Academy.