Although the vampire craze peaked sometime in the mid-’00s, when the Twilight saga and True Blood ruled high-school gossip, late-night dorm-room chats, and watercooler conversations at the office, Vampire Academy is more than just a last-ditch attempt to squeeze the last bit of juice (blood?) out of a trend that has faded and made way for other supernatural...read more
Although the vampire craze peaked sometime in the mid-’00s, when the Twilight saga and True Blood ruled high-school gossip, late-night dorm-room chats, and watercooler conversations at the office, Vampire Academy is more than just a last-ditch attempt to squeeze the last bit of juice (blood?) out of a trend that has faded and made way for other supernatural creatures. The movie was based on the book series by Richelle Mead, helmed by Mean Girls director Mark Waters, and written by Heathers scribe Daniel Waters. Thus, it possesses something that other films of its ilk do not: a keen look at the struggles to gain social status and simply survive in the cutthroat world of high school. The supernatural and romantic elements come second and third, respectively, which does Vampire Academy a huge service.
Snuggling comfortably between the shallow void that is Twilight and the complicated mishmash of angels and demons in The Mortal Instruments, Vampire Academy tells of an underworld dominated by several different tribes: the Dhampirs, human/vampire hybrids who guard the Moroi; the Moroi, an ancient line of vampires; and the Strigoi, the undead nemeses of the Moroi. The film centers on Dhampir Rose Hathaway (Zoey Deutch), guardian of Moroi Lissa Dragomir (Lucy Fry), whose royal blood puts her next in line to take the throne as head of all things vampire. Deutch dominates the movie as she plays someone who’s both a feisty, powerful guardian and a loyal friend. Her romance with the revered Dhampir Dmitri (Danila Kozlovsky) is far more intriguing than the burgeoning love affair of Lissa and the brooding Christian Ozera (Dominic Sherwood). With that said, Vampire Academy greatly benefits from the fact that it’s more concerned with politics and friendship than romance.
Though the film suffers from an overabundance of vampire-related puns, it is bolstered by a minimal amount of broodiness from the characters, as well as the powerful nature of its leading ladies. Far from the shrinking violets of tales past, this movie takes a hint from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and gives the female protagonists some serious martial-arts training and a relatively healthy perspective on dating. Vampire Academy is a fast-paced and humorous mash-up of Gossip Girl and supernatural romance for young adults, and unlike its many predecessors, it just works.
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