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Rose Hathaway is a dhampir, half-vampire and half-human, who is training to be a guardian at St Vladimir's Academy along with many others like her. There are good and bad vampires in their world: Moroi, who co-exist peacefully among the humans and only take blood from donors, and also possess the ability to control one of the four elements - water, earth, fire or air; and Strigoi, blood-sucking, evil vampires who drink to kill. Rose and other dhampir guardians are trained to protect Moroi and kill Strigoi throughout their education. Along with her best friend, Princess Vasilisa Dragomir, a Moroi and the last of her line, with whom she has a nigh unbreakable bond, Rose must run away from St Vladimir's, in order to protect Lissa from those who wish to harm the princess and use her for their own means. Written by
I had a glimmer of hope for Vampire Academy. The faintest bit of optimism that the film might actually be something that Ender's Game and Beautiful Creatures was not. I knew nothing of the books. Seven in total I am told from my vampire novel-loving partner. But surely it a major studio release couldn't be as bad as the Twilight films. Surely just out of blind luck, a vampire film targeting the tweens might actually be watchable.
Vampire Academy not only fails to exploit my flicker of faith but it pulverizes any rational reason as to why the screenplay was greenlit in the first place. A monstrosity of a mess, Vampire Academy is a clear front runner for worst film of 2014.
I could attempt to educate you on the script, but I am not quite sure I understood it all myself. In the first five minutes alone we see a car crash, get introduced to a vampire and her half-vampire/half-human guardian, force fed the supernatural bond between the two, learn that vampires can control the four elements and are given a description as to dhampirs, Morois and Strigoi's. Whew.
Zoey Deutch (looking very much like a young Rose Byrne) plays Rose Hathaway. She is a dhampir who is protecting Princess Vasilisa Dragomir (Lucy Fry) from Stigoi an evil vampire breed created when a vampire takes a human life. Maybe more evil still are Vasilisa's classmates at the Vampire Academy who resent her return after being in the real world for the past year. It's like Mean Girls with fangs.
There is some sort of plot. Vasilisa is tormented by someone or someones in her school who sacrifice wolves and cats in an attempt to gather her attention. Vasilisa seems less concerned about those trying to kill her than she is about the boys in her school and her desire for acceptance. That brings a few Robert Pattinson look-a-likes into play that add nothing much else to the story than doing just enough to get us to the next DVD chapter without displaying any real character. There is also a love interest for Rose, large wolf dogs, more vampire mythology and Gabriel Byrne trying his best to ensure that he is not overlooked by next year's Razzie nominations.
The screenplay by Daniel Waters is the film's largest obstacle. The dialogue is Aaron Sorkin fast but written with a Uwe Boll sense of direction. Characters talk quickly to each other and then the scene will just cut as if we came to the end of a chapter and the director didn't know how to transition to the next scene with any sense of flow.
Those holding out for strong action scenes to be the glue that holds you between naps can forget about it. Poorly choreographed and uninspiring hijinks are the norm as the film stumbles towards a final shot that suggests a sequel (it will not happen).
Vampire Academy might have worked as a television series. Why not. Dirty Little Liars Meets True Blood on CW. But this mess is easily the worst film of the year. At least until the next Adam Sandler film is released.
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