Director: Mark Waters (Freaky Friday, Mean Girls, Just Like Heaven)
Writer: Daniel Waters, Richelle Mead
Producers: Susan Montford, Don Murphy, Deepak Nayar, Michael Preger
Starring: Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry, Danila Kozlovsky, Gabriel Byrne, Dominic Sherwood, Olga Kurylenko, Sarah Hyland, Cameron Monaghan
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 104 min.
Chances are that if you’re not 15 or a fan of Richelle Mead’s novels, you have no idea and/or interest in Vampire Academy but let me tell you, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Particularly if you like the biting social commentary of something like Mean Girls mixed in with the sass of Buffy the Vampire Slayer – the movie, not the show that I’ve only seen five episodes of.
Rose (Zoey Deutch) is a Dhampir, half human/half vampire, she is training to be a guardian, a protector of the Moroi, the non-sparkly vampires who don’t explode into flame in the daylight but who are also kind of helpless thanks to their dependence on the guardians. Rose and her best friend Lissa have run away from the confines of Vampire Academy and have spent the last year on the run, mingling in with humanity. They’re eventually dragged back by Dimitri, a god among guardians, to face the music: not only have they broken a bunch of rules but Lissa, the last of the Dragomir line and possible successor to the throne, has been under the protection of an untested guardian.
The universe isn’t very complicated but you’d think it was rocket science considering the amount of time and trouble writer Daniel Waters (yes, that Daniel Waters) and his brother director Mark Waters (yup, of Mean Girls fame) take to explain the basics. The movie kicks into the explanation from the get go with some less than appealing voiceover and mixed throughout the movie are moments which are clearly fan service (I could almost hear the brothers discussing how they had to include the Molnija marks – a short scene which ridiculously includes a male hair toss and is later echoed, far more naturally, near the end of the movie). Thankfully, Vampire Academy bounces back quickly, delving heavily into a high school drama that also plays out like a Nancy Drew mystery. The girls need to figure out what their psychic bond really means, who is bullying Lissa and why the Princess is a target while also dealing with their personal boyfriend drama. Oh high school. What a drag.
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