Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Vampire Academy: Movie Review

Vampire Academy: Movie Review


Cast: Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry, Gabriel Byrne, Olga Kurylenko, Sarah Hyland
Director: Mark Waters

From the young adult novels, and with more of the undead in tow, here comes the latest in the vamp line of movie making.

Mixing Harry Potter's Hogwarts with vampirism and throwing in a brew of romance, it's the story of the Moroi, and the Strigoi, both lines of vampires and both (im)mortal enemies. The two will never see eye to eye and caught right in the middle of it is Dhampir (a half vampire and half human mix) Rose Hathaway (Zoey Deutch). Her job is to protect the Moroi princess Lissa Dragomir (Fry) whatever the cost.

To that end, the pair has been living in the human world for a couple of years; however, they're tracked down and dragged back to a fate worse than death - St Vladmir's Academy...

Thrown back into the horrors of classes, jealousy, and boys, the pair find their lives in danger when strange things happen on the campus and the Strigoi are suspected of being behind it all....

Vampire Academy is a strangely un-intoxicating hybrid mess of a film.

Part Harry Potter, part romance, part tongue in cheek silliness, part Buffy-style quipping (but without the smarts) and all insanity, it's one of the weirdest hot messes of a film that's appeared in a while, thanks to its wild mix of tone.

While a feisty Deutch does well with her wannabe Buffy / Faith style role, the writing doesn't quite help, with quip after quip flying and hardly many hitting their targets at all. There's an attempt to throw a Mean Girls / high school vibe into the mix, but there are so many elements within already that it just feels overcooked. The start is almost hamstrung by an overuse of exposition via voiceover and writing flying over the screen that it all seems a little too much, a supernatural pudding that's been over-egged with many elements of the genres that have already passed.

The more established names of the cast - Olga Kurylenko and Gabriel Byrne - simply chew the scenery and don't seem to want to know what to do with their underwritten parts. Along with cheesy action sequences and cornball dialogue, it's hard to see whether tweens will go for this given that it's neither fish nor fowl - choosing to shy away from too much self-knowing and parody while mixing in some of the seriousness, Vampire Academy doesn't raise any stakes in the vampire genre.

In fact, if anything, this coffin should be sealed shut for eternity before any more of the six books make it onto the big screen. Terrible CGI for some hellhounds simply show that the stretch of imagination didn't go far in this cinematic outing.

Quite simply, Vampire Academy bites.

Rating:


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