Director: Mark Waters
Starring: Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry, Sarah Hyland, Olga Kurylenko
Release Date (US): 7th February, 2014
Company: The Weinstein Company
“I don’t know about you, but my school can get a little insane. Most of us stay up all night. And all of us think that we’ll live forever… if we survive graduation, that is.” – Rose Hathaway
Vampire Academy sees sibling director/writer duo Mark and Daniel Waters (Mean Girls) return to the world of young adult movies with an adaptation of Richelle Mead’s teen fantasy/romance novel series. Zoey Deutch (Beautiful Creatures) stars as Rose Hathaway, a half-human, half-vampire, training to be a guardian at St. Vladimir’s Academy. She is charged with protecting the life of her best friend, Lissa Draogmir (Lucy Fry, Mako Mermaids) – who is considered vampire royalty – from those who wish to do her harm.
Despite the sarcastic tone and obvious branding to the Mean Girls audience, Vampire Academy never amounts to anything more notable than a stale young adult flick for teenagers. Where it may have possibly succeeded as a fun parody of the genre, it instead attempts to take the middle road – churning out an overstuffed story while actively mocking itself throughout. The end result is completely forgettable.
The movie attempts to introduce the audience to an exclusive world of vampires and dhampirs, all in a high school environment. This strained mismatch of Twilight, Harry Potter and every high school movie ever is grating and unoriginal, and you find yourself questioning the source material itself. That said, the Waters brothers offer very little improvement with their disappointing take – aside from a few wise-cracking jokes.
“A female – especially one who lives off of blood and magic – is going to have her mood swings.” – Rose Hathaway
To give credit where credit’s due, Zoey Deutch singles herself out as the movie’s one redeeming element. Her cheeky act and snarky humour serve as a welcome respite from all of the uninspired main storytelling, it’s a shame the film didn’t cater more to her strengths. Instead, she’s lumbered with a whole bunch of teenage girl stereotypes and a pretty boyfriend to swoon over – with whom she shares exactly zero chemistry.
Lucy Fry is less entertaining. Saddled with even worse material, her character, Lissa, becomes the main focal point for the movie’s main story – and, as a result, feels like nothing more than a walking plot device. Modern Family‘s Sarah Hyland is wasted in a forgettable supporting role, while the young male actors serve only as eye candy for the loyal teen fan base. Olga Kurylenko (Oblivion) disappoints – once again.
Direction & Tone
I found myself pleasantly surprised by Mean Girls. While it may not be a masterpiece, it’s fun, clever and insanely quotably. You’ll find no such praise to be dealt here. What the Waters bros. fail to grasp in that in order to make a successful franchise – the characters have to be likeable, and the story similarly interesting. While it may work for the book fans, the exposition-laden dialogue and the arrogant tone wins the movie no favours.
- That’s right, the movie sucks. I see what you did there.
- Despite watching this movie not too long ago (I know, I regret that now), I still had to google the characters names. Part of me really wanted to refer to the main character as “Bitey McFangz”…
- When the first ten minutes of your film is spent explaining your overly complicated concept, you know you’ve done something wrong. It’s most likely making the movie in the first place.
Despite possessing a charismatic lead, and a small amount of potential, the Waters siblings fail to inspire Vampire Academy to any level of distinction at all. It’s a dull young adult adaptation, full of flat characters, questionable acting and very little flair.