Vampire Academy | Movie Review
There are really bad movies that are a pain to sit through, and there are those bad movies that are insanely entertaining to watch. Vampire Academy is that bad movie.
Vampire Academy is like this mash-up between Twilight, Harry Potter, and some fan-fic I read when I was 13. Rose Hathaway (Zoey Deutch) is Princess Lissa’s (Lucy Fry) Dhampir, a guardian of the Moroi vampire race. The Moroi are the much more peaceful, mortal vampires and enemies of the Strigoi, the immortal bloodthirsty vampires you always see in the movies. After being on the run for two years from the movie's namesake, Rose and Lissa are caught and hauled back to high school. There, the two best buds have become outcasts, picked on constantly by a newer popular crowd. As Rose and Lissa deal with high school dramedy and crushes, something bigger is being planned and the two girls must discover the plot before their lives are threatened.
There are a lot of storytelling problems with Vampire Academy. Time races by as if someone was holding down the fast forward button while reading the book. Characters were the ultimate definition of flat, and romances, friendships, and plot points would spark and dwindle within seconds. This movie is no Mean Girls, as much as it tries to be. However, all the movie’s faults made it all that more entertaining to watch. Mark Waters’ understanding of the high school girl somehow seeps through a pretty muddled script (written by Heathers and Batman Returns writer Daniel Waters) and manages to keep the audience entertained throughout with consistent laughs.
The thing that makes Vampire Academy so entertaining is the movie doesn’t take itself too seriously. We’ve seen enough young adult adaptations go south that way (Twilight, Beautiful Creatures), and with Vampire Academy it felt like the cast and crew were almost parodying the original content (I should mention, though, that writer Richelle Mead does in face love the movie). It’s a bad movie, but within that badness there’s a great amount of entertainment value.
There’s so much wrong in this movie that makes it all so right. As mentioned, the movie zips by at an insane pace, the jokes are insanely corny, and the acting is over-the-top. However, in all of that hot mess, there is no one working harder to make this movie enjoyable more that Zoey Deutch. Her ludicrous commentary during the entire film breaks a third wall that was much needed. Furthermore, any girl who was into the paranormal romance scene in middle school would get a kick out of the line, “Lissa used to like Hot Topic. Then, she turned 12.” That priceless line also sums up the movie in a nutshell – people used to fall for playful and gooey vampire romances like this, but then they grew up and discovered Anne Rice and Dracula.
The only specific problem I had with the movie was the “Blood is Family” speech at the very end. For a movie that was (up until that point) pretty ridiculous, the morality speech was a little too much. It was boring, and it felt like Mark Waters was trying to reconstruct Lindsay Lohan’s Spring Fling speech that occurs at the end of Mean Girls. The only thing different here is that Mean Girls had a lot of heart and truth in it, while Vampire Academy is pure fluff and chuckles. Waters should have recognized that and annexed the dopey monologue.
Vampire Academy isn’t a good movie by any means, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun. I would go watch Rose and Lissa fight off catty classmates again in a heartbeat over viewing the snore-fest that is Monuments Men once this weekend. Vampire Academy’s intention was never to be good, but in its badness you will find yourself highly entertained. It doesn't take itself seriously, and you shouldn't either.