Vampire Academy (2014) – Review

1/2 Star

There was once a mystique about vampires, before they were used as central characters in young adult novels. Gone is any danger, sexiness, or interest in these halflings. Instead, we have smart-mouthed, martial-arts practicing, teen vamps who are merely inconvenienced by their un-natural state. Vampire Academy want so badly to be the hip, irreverent, genre mash-up that made Buffy so popular. But the film’s attempt at coercing laughs or affinity with its heroines is hopeless. The plotting is confused, the never-ending expository sequences are fumbled and the tone veers wildly into odd territory.

The film is based on the novel of the same name by author Richelle Mead, the first in a series of six books, each dealing with the adventures of Lissa (Lucy Fry) and Rose (Zoey Deutch). There is so much back-story that recalling the details of the tale is overwhelming, never-the-less, I’ll trudge on in the name of journalism. Rose Hathaway, a Dhampir girl, is a bodyguard of sorts for her best friend, Lissa. They are students at a prep school specializing in teaching and training the proper process of learning how to defeat Strigoi (the evil vampires).

As the story starts Lissa and Rose are runaways brought back to the Academy by elder instructor Dimitri Belikov (Danila Kozlovsky). Now reinstated with the governing board, the girls are allowed to resume their curriculum, but the fellow students are harboring a hatred for the outcasts. Despite her absence Lissa is being groomed to become the next princess and Rose finds herself falling for the forbidden Dimitri. This complicated the girls relationship with one another, it seems they have an attraction to each other that is often hinted at but never spelled out.

There is a lot of talk about warring breeds of vampires, magic spells, and shadow kisses. The deadly serious franchise intentions on the part of the filmmakers and producers is laughable, this is a non-started from the outset. Written by Daniel Waters, who covered this type of dark comedy better in Heathers, and directed by Mark Waters, who made the infinitely more entertaining Mean Girls, this project is on the surface a great match-up of artist and material. However, something went wrong in the process, what is on-screen can’t be the initial intentions that were set out with. Vampire Academy doesn’t just bite, it truly sucks.

Director: Mark Waters
Stars: Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry, Gabriel Byrne

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