Combustible Celluloid
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With: Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry, Danila Kozlovsky, Gabriel Byrne, Dominic Sherwood, Olga Kurylenko, Sarah Hyland, Cameron Monaghan, Sami Gayle, Ashley Charles, Claire Foy, Joely Richardson
Written by: Daniel Waters, based on a novel by Richelle Mead
Directed by: Mark Waters
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence, bloody images, sexual content and language
Running Time: 104
Date: 02/07/2014

Vampire Academy (2014)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Blood Bust

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The Waters brothers, screenwriter Daniel (Heathers) and director Mark (Mean Girls), are no strangers to this kind of material. And even though Vampire Academy is very clearly meant to capitalize on franchises like Twilight, Harry Potter, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Waters brothers are more interested in creating something snappy and irreverent. It's not a bad spoof, like Vampires Suck, but rather its own welcome entity.

Rose (Zoey Deutch) is a Dhampir, a half-vampire whose job is to serve as a guardian for the pureblood vampires, known as the Moroi. Rose is bonded to princess Lissa (Lucy Fry). For mysterious reasons, they have run away from their school, the "Vampire Academy," but are found and forced to return. There they face a series of strange occurrences, such as warnings written in blood and dead animals left as omens. This could be the work of a race of evil vampires, the Strigoi, or it could be something even more sinister, someone on the premises. Meanwhile, both Rose and Lissa must deal with ordinary high school stuff, like crushes, bullies, and the big upcoming dance.

Unfortunately what actually arrives in theaters is not a good movie. To start, it looks bad, like waxy video with bad computer-generated effects stamped on top. The writing is filled with exposition and explanations, trying to get all the information of this vampire world across in the most direct and graceless way possible. This writing often leads to bad acting, even by such veterans as Gabriel Byrne. However, with its particularly unique attitude, it has a chance to become a classic "so-bad-it's-good" movie. Certainly the spunky Zoey Deutch helps, with her boundless energy and funny line readings.

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