Movie goers will always remember the big boom of modern vampires and their iffy lore. Some appreciated what Twilight executed with their movement, while others wished the movement had been executed altogether.
That said, I believe we can all agree that fantasies about brooding creatures of the night have had their time in the spotlight and are now starting to peter away slowly. It was like witnessing an out-of-control party scamper off into the streets never to be seen again.
Vampire Academy is that one person you all dislike. That one person who wants that liveliness to rage on. They were “fashionably late” and now they won’t leave your house. And, their only purpose is to remind you of what was “hot”.
This meandering teen flick adapted from Richelle Mead’s popular book series is an absolute puzzle in a few ways.
First of all, it’s hard to fathom how this current cut found its way into movie theatres. Mark Waters’ film has the look and feel of a television show pilot trying to give audiences the broad strokes of important plot points and arcs in Mead’s work. Even the emotional tones of the movie resemble dated sci-fi fare you may channel surf past on preteen networks.
Every hint about the movie’s atmosphere is clumsy. Since the students at St. Vladimir’s Academy attend class at night, the audience get scenes with stagey lighting splashed across walls from moonlit windows and obvious shadows cast down hallways. The fights have the same type of sloppy set-ups, with the camera being stationed way too close to cover up how simple and mundane the choreography is.
The fumbling of the fight scenes is a peculiar failure because Vampire Academy seems to be a movie that was developed based on looks. That would explain the casting at least.
From the word “go”, Waters’ attractive lead actresses (Zoey Deutch and Lucy Fry) have trouble reacting to a bad dream they both have. I won’t go into details about why they have the same dream, because it would lead us down an incomprehensible rabbit hole of spacey pacing and invisible interest.
Anyways, they have the dream and look absolutely devoid of emotion. One could possibly say that because these two are vampires, they lack any real connection to human feeling. However, Fry has no problem recognizing the pros to popularity and the elation of having a boyfriend, while Deutch’s precocious attitude shows that she comprehends sarcasm.
Everyone in the film is a pretty actor who has been made up or dressed in a way that calls on the audience to focus on the film at face value. The only exception could be an aging Gabriel Byrne, but even he shows later on in the movie why he belongs with the good-looking folks.
Deutch’s performance is especially unappreciative. As the film’s hero, we want to figure out the movie’s primary mystery out with her. Instead, we can’t figure out why she’s dead-set on becoming a hybrid of Ellen Page’s screen presence and Sarah Silverman’s line delivery.
With the film trying to resemble so many other things along with the cheap production values, Vampire Academy comes off as another spoof movie of the popular vampire movement. With Daniel Waters’ wishy-washy screenplay and Mark Waters’ thoughtless direction, it might as well be.
In the screening I was in, there were walk-outs, and people generally growing more disinterested with the movie. There were, however, movie goers giving in to the camp with unintentional laughter. It’s hard not to, when a scene of sensuality is abruptly edited, and many undertones of lesbianism between Deutch and Fry are milked.
I suppose this could’ve been our Showgirls, but that would’ve meant the film had elements of audacious curiosity and ridiculousness, along with full-blown confidence behind the production. Vampire Academy has none of the above and is only here to make a quick buck off of what little excitement is left after the Twilight tornado.
This review of Vampire Academy also appears on MrWillWong.com