Blu-ray Review: Teen Horror Comedy ‘Vampire Academy’ Fine for Fans

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Average: 5 (7 votes)

CHICAGO – Mark Waters’ “Vampire Academy” is one of the more toothless attempts to make a “fetch” bloodsucker movie for the middle-high school crowd, to use a phrase from his revered teen comedy “Mean Girls”. Based on the six book series written by Rachelle Mead (which has sold 8 million copies worldwide) “Vampire Academy” the movie tackles teenage friendship in the chaos of high school with the same type of Waters’ “I’m not like a regular mom, I’m a cool mom” distance, but with even softer gloves. That the movie boasts it was adapted by Dan Waters, who scripted “Heathers,” shows that the real shock is missing - either Waters isn’t writing with as provocative a pen, or the images of a shocking high school have changed.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-ray rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

Without the expectations of a “Mean Girls” or even “Heathers,” “Vampire Academy” is passable on its plain, demographic-centered shenanigans where a few viewers will probably be very happy with it, while everyone else won’t. It has amusing shameless elements of bad movie-isms, like the inconsistent amount of British accents for the students of “Vampire Academy,” even though the story takes place in Montana, and then on top of that the film was shot in the United Kingdom. As for its story, it is direct enough, and with various dabs of fight scenes that try to give this one a surprising near-balance of estrogen and testosterone. It’s enough to get the story to move past its bigger flaws, like the greedy implementation of “magic” to a story that already has three different types of vampires.

But aside from its image of a teen friendship, in which there is an issue of “class” that is not an awkward barrier between two inseparable pals, the usage of vampire simply provides another PG-13 take on high school, where the dialogue could be placed in any other character subgenre: “You mean queen bee-yotch?”, “You’re making this about high school and its about something more,” “I confused power with popularity,” “I can’t remember who loves us and who hates us,” etc.

That being said, the dialogue doesn’t have much special spice, despite spunky actress Zoey Dutch trying to make her best out of catty fare and even a third-act reference to “Gladiator.” Still, the biggest stake this movie has in modern vampire movies is the unnecessary reminder of one human being’s mortality, but also that the dominance of vampire genre still remains in retreated adolescence, even with “Twilight” seeming thousands of years ago - “Bela Lugosi’s dead,” the closing credits of “Vampire Academy” sing.

A sequel is mentioned in the film’s final frame moments, but such won’t come to life. “Vampire Academy” was invisible to the box office when it snuck in and out of theaters this past February. For those curious, Waters is currently set to direct an adaptation of another high school ghoul - “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.”

The Blu-ray’s deleted scenes, at a total of maybe 5 minutes, suggest a kookier, functionally less serious version of teenage vampiricism than the final cut suggests. A three-minute brief interview with author Richelle Mead will likely leave its interested viewers dry.

Vampire Academy was be released on Blu-ray and DVD on May 20, 2014
Vampire Academy was released on Blu-ray and DVD on May 20, 2014
Photo credit: The Weinstein Company

Synopsis: As numerous vampire movies are apt to do, “Vampire Academy” has its own take on the world of bloodsucking. Zoey Dutch plays Rose, a “Dhampir” half-human/half-vampire that must protect her friend Lissa (Lucy Fry), a “Moroi” royal vampire who is susceptible to danger to the undead “Strigoi” given her importance as vampire royalty. The two BFFs have a literal mental bond, where Rose can see what Lissa sees, which comes in handy when a mysterious force begins terrorizing their title place of education. Amongst this school-wide conspiracy, they face bad shade from their classmate Mia (Sami Gayle) who is evil (‘cause she’s a life ruiner; she ruins lives).

Special Features:
o A Conversation with Author Richelle Mead
o Deleted Scenes
o Alternate Opening
o Digital Copy of “Vampire Academy”

“Vampire Academy” was released on Blu-ray and DVD on May 20, 2014.

By Nick Allen
Contributor
HollywoodChicago.com

Larissa's picture

Whitewashing is alive and well in Hollywood

Perhaps if they hadn’t whitewashed the lead female role of Rose Hathaway—-who is a strong BIRACIAL character—-they might have had a bigger success. Instead they played nepotism and cast a white bread Hollywood talentless brat which pissed off a large portion of the fans of the book series —-one of the few that features an ethnic character in a lead narrative role—-who happened to be people of color. The insertion of a ‘token’ poc in a supporting role (Alberta who was renamed Gabrielle was supposed to be a white woman in her fifties with grey hair—-just because we’re poc doesn’t mean we’re stupid folks, we know a token when we see it) was just plain adding insult to injury.

Then you have the fact that Rose was described as having an extremely curvy, athletic figure and that she looked much older than her age in the books—-again, two things that Deutch—-who looks about thirteen—-does not fit, so they apparently have prejudices against girls with a little meat on their bones as well as being racists.

Major flop, box office poison of a leading lady—-and they actually think financiers will back a second film? Laughing my ETHNIC ass off.

JoeyAngelo's picture

You are a Joke

I’ve seen you troll on different sites already, and the race card is getting old, being bi-racial myself! Rose is supposed to be HALF white, half Turkish. But still white, with a little tan. Sort looks like Rose regardless. It’s about the character honey, the movie would have bombed regardless. There’s a negative twilight stigma out there that doesn’t go away

Rosemarie Hathaway's picture

VA Movie

The deleted scenes (especially the party scene) was really important. The reason they ran away was because Liss almost killed someone.. she wasn’t able to control the darkness her magic brings with it.. The cost she has to pay For her Magic..

#VAFAMILY loved this movie… Yes, the books were a lot better, but this movie paid attention the little details From the books, and mostly stuck with the book, which not a lot oF adaptations can say that, not even Harry Potter, or even Twilight or Hunger Games. That’s what we loved about it.. but yes, the real story is a lot more serious, but seriously, this is worth spending your money on.. Or Better yet, read the books too.. They are amazing and so much different from the other books..

JoeyAngelp's picture

Huh.

Just to clear things up here. The characters with British accents are of royal families descended from European families, not to mention they are not raised in the US, is that so hard to believe? Second, there WILL be a 2nd movie, it will be under a different studio and director. This movie wasn’t so bad, but if you’re old and cranky I suppose it’s not your cup of tea.

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