Review: Vampire Academy

In the wake of damp squib would-be YA franchise-starters like Beautiful Creatures and The Mortal Instruments, audience fatigue for Twilight-wannabes is at an all-time high. Not helping Vampire Academy‘s case is the incredibly generic title (which sounds like a CW web series), and the whole thing exuding a whiff of having jumped on a bandwagon a few years too late.

However, the behind-the-camera talent indicated genuine potential. Director Mark Waters made one the most well-observed teen movies of the past fifteen years, Mean Girls, and his brother Daniel wrote one of the most biting teen comedies of the previous fifteen – Heathers. But even these two guys couldn’t stop Vampire Academy from being a strong early contender for the worst film of the year.

There is not a single original moment in the film, which borrows most of its ideas from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Harry Potter. The leaden script is loaded with some of the clunkiest exposition this side of Swans Crossing, and the strained zeitgeist-y quips (there’s a joke about iPhones!) expose the desperation in the film’s bid for youthful credibility. Also, it makes no sense whatsoever and, if you dim your eyes slightly, you can almost imagine you’re watching a Seltzer/Friedberg-style spoof a la Date Movie or Vampires Suck.

Looking like the missing link between Ellen Page and Rose Byrne, lead Zoey Deutch (the daughter of Lea Thompson, the mom from the Back to the Future movies) does her best to get her sass on, but it comes across like a decade-too-late audition for a Buffy spin-off.

This film tested my undying pragmatism about youth-target movies to its breaking point. I could not find anything to enjoy here. I allowed myself to let some hope in when Gabriel Byrne showed up in a supporting role, but then he referenced his iconic role in the Coens’ Miller’s Crossing with a specific line of dialogue, and I died a little bit inside.

‘Vampire Academy’ Movie Times