I’m not even going to try to resist: “Vampire Academy” sucks.
Horrid performances by the cast, an outlandish script, abysmal directing and fourth-rate special effects–“Vampire Academy” is an absolute train wreck.
Now believe it or not, I walked into this film with an open mind. Despite the ridiculous premise, which so desperately panders to a specific audience, the presence of some recognizable talent coerced me into giving the production the benefit of the doubt. Could this film really be all that bad?
A few minutes into the film, the following line of dialogue provided my answer:
“Why can’t you be a normal teenage girl and dream about naked guys on unicorns?”
Just when you thought the vampire-romance craze had finally been beaten to a slow, painful death, a film has come along marking a new rock bottom. “Vampire Academy” takes the very worst attributes of “Twilight” and combines it with a pitiful imitation of “Mean Girls.” The resulting product is so outrageously bad, it makes the worst moments of the “Twilight” saga appear as cinematic brilliance by comparison.
Set at the fictitious vampire school, St. Vladimir’s Academy, the film follows the exploits of the teenaged Rose Hathaway (Zoey Deutch), a Dhampir (half-human, half-vampire) guardian whose purpose is to protect her best friend Moroi (good, mortal vampires) princess Lissa Dragomir (Lucy Fry) from both the Strigoi (evil, undead vampires) and the perils of high school.
Practically writes itself doesn’t it?
The plot lacks any moments of suspense, drama or humor whatsoever with various forgettable and clichéd side characters constantly being introduced and forgotten. Doomed from the start, the film is burdened by an obscenely large amount of exposition, with various irrelevant plot details thrown at you at such a breakneck pace it’s impossible to have even a slight clue of what’s going on.
Highlights include Rose mindlessly seducing her instructor immediately after realizing her friend is in mortal danger, an escapade that not only feels forced and gratuitous, but only lasts for all of 30 seconds before the characters suddenly stop and rush to action.
Near the end of the film, Lissa gives an impassioned speech about blood to the school, which in terms of cinematic significance could be considered the exact opposite of Chaplin’s speech at the end of “The Great Dictator.”
The cultural clichés are each over 20 years old and every single joke in the movie has been used dozens of times before. The special effects consist of a poor use of bullet time, CGI that would have been deemed unimpressive 20 years ago and mediocre combat sequences that would be right at home in a ‘70s B movie.
Zoey Deutch’s performance leads the poorly constructed cast. With a performance comparable to that of a third-rate Ellen Page, Deutch is the standout of the cast by default. The truly pitiful supporting cast is highlighted by a laughable performance by Lucy Fry, whose character unintentionally comes across as a bi-polar nut-job. Former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko for some reason turns up in a small role as St. Vladimir’s headmistress Ellen Kirova. With a ridiculous and inconsistent accent, the performance marks one of her very worst. Actress Sarah Hyland’s participation is baffling. Despite being one of the stars of ABC’s “Modern Family,” by far the most critically acclaimed sitcom currently airing and one of the most popular, she portrays a minor supporting character who is shown in a not-so-favorable light. This is exactly the type of role the actress should be avoiding if she hopes to make a career for herself following the eventual end of her sitcom.
“Vampire Academy” succeeds in being a film that, while outrageously bad, is not entirely unwatchable. It manages to be one of those rare films that is laughably terrible. You’ll find it incredibly easy to sit through the picture with a group of friends, mocking everything you see on screen. Despite sitting alone in a virtually empty theater, on more than one occasion I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at the abomination playing on the screen before me. For this reason alone (and the sheer fact that Zoey Deutch is pretty hot) I have decided not to award the film a rating of zero, despite it lacking any commendable quality whatsoever.