Movie Review: Vampire Academy (PG13)

Review: Fantasy Action

104 minutes / Now showing / Rating: 2/5

The story: Rose Hathaway (Zoey Deutch) is a vampire guardian whose purpose in life is to protect vampire and best friend Lissa (Lucy Fry) from the Strigoi, a group of dangerous killer vampires. The pair soon realise that the more immediate danger lies in their back-stabbing high school classmates than anything else in the world.

Think of this as Twilight (2008), but filtered through the sensibility of Mean Girls (2004), whose director also helms this with similar snarkiness.

The vampires and vampire protectors go about high school life as anyone would in a stereotypical American teen movie: gush about cute boys and girls, try to get into the popular clique and stress over what to wear to the prom.

What director Mark Waters does not have this time is a strong script, which was the driving force behind Mean Girls' success. Instead of Tina Fey's smart, sassy brand of humour, the script here, adapted from Richelle Meads' 2007 novel by Waters' older brother Daniel, is riddled with cliches and lines so cheesy it makes Twilight look highbrow.

Vampire guardian Rose narrates in a voiceover: "A female, especially one who lives off blood and magic, is going to have her mood swings."

The line might have worked if it were said in jest, but the film often takes itself far too seriously. It is as if the director earnestly believed this would be the next major young adult franchise, rather than the unintentionally funny mess it ends up becoming.

The few sequences in which the movie switches tack to openly mock teendom's obsession with vampire films are the only bits which draw any real laughs.

"Good" vampires are seen in one scene feeding only from human volunteers at a medical facility - it is like a blood donation drive, only kinkier (apparently, the humans get a sexual high in the process). Rose then remarks sardonically that these humans - all overweight and middle-aged - are willing to do this only because they are "obsessed with Twilight fan fiction".

Engish actor Dominic Sherwood, who plays brooding vampire Christian here, also looks and acts hilariously like Robert Pattinson's Edward Cullen in Twilight. Every eye-squint and flick of his floppy hair would have been perfect for an obvious satire, but, alas, his performance feels out of place in this superficial offering.

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