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Vampire Academy - Film Review

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by Katie Fisher (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living and studying in Sydney
Published March 5th 2014
I give this film 1/2 a star out of 5
My first impression of Vampire Academy is a mash-up of Twilight, X-men and Mean Girls...gone horribly wrong. Mark Waters' film adaptation of Richelle Mead's fiction series does not do it any favours but instead achieves an unusual cross between a vampire comedy spoof and a predictable action-adventure with some romance chucked in on the side. Perhaps a blessing for the Vampire Academy fanbase, this film is most certainly a painful experience for the rest of us.

Evidently with no need for subtly, we - the audience - are thrust straight into the heart of the story. We are spoon fed, in fact almost force fed, all of the information at once. Whether this is due to the overwhelming amount of back-story or simply to save time, we might never know. But there is one term for what the film achieves and that is: plot vomit. The act is both oppressive and tacky.

To summarise Waters' plot vomit and save you the hassle, there are two main heroines: one a princess and the other her guardian. They have some sort of telepathic connection and they must fight off the seemingly never ending number of characters who want them either slut-shamed, maimed, or dead. Now I normally appreciate strong female leads in a film but Vampire Academy as a whole was anything but enjoyable.

Vampire Academy, film review, Vampire Academy film
Vampires have school dances too...

In an attempt to obtain both hilarity and originality, the plot abandons all vampire norms from the onset. As it turns out, vampires are actually mortal. There are three different subsets of vampire. Humans actually voluntarily donate blood and are not killed in the process. To make matters even worse, Twilight is name dropped once or twice. This cheesy satire is ineffective since the movie is still 50% serious about the whole vampire-romance-action genre. This strikes me as slightly ironic and altogether hypocritical for Waters'. It leaves me questioning just how serious he was about making a vampire film in the first place.

If the plot and script didn't already destroy the film then the acting almost certainly did. The actors need to be reminded that they are allowed to breathe between lines. The characters fire back replies to one another so quickly that it is almost impossible to believe they actually heard what the other was saying. The whole dialogue sounds so scripted that it is cringe-worthy. And, let me tell you, that cringe will last the entire 104 minutes.

Vampire Academy, film review, Vampire Academy film
Zoey Deutch as a vampire guardian

Zoey Deutch, who plays the guardian Rose Hathaway, could almost be confused with Ellen Page. She seems more like a sarcastic Juno-esque vampire than the guardian of a Princess. To add to this, Dominic Sherwood (who plays the Princess' love interest, Christian Ozera) is the dark brooding vamp reminiscent of Edward Cullen, minus the attraction to humans. It is almost as if the actors were cast based off of their likeness to other celebrities rather than off of their raw talent.

Given that Richelle Mead has written six novels and the film ended in a suggestive cliff-hanger inclines me to think that Waters' intends on making sequels. I can only say that for the love of good quality films I hope he does not. Although, judging from their poor box office performance, I'm not sure a sequel would be a financially viable option. And thank goodness for that. Now hopefully the cliche vampire genre will die off with it.

I give this film 1/2 a star out of 5.
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