falters as camp and as a "real" movie from the "twisted mind" of James Franco
As a Lifetime movie, not least of which a (in title only, as I'm told) remake of a "classic" 90's Lifetime movie also starring Tori Spelling, this brings the camp but only in small doses. If you also go into it expecting that James Franco directed it you'll be sadly mistaken - he wrote the "Television Story" though not the script, is an exec producer along with original star Spelling who appears here too and has an extended cameo as the director of the Macbeth in the movie - and of all things I now wish that Franco had directed it.
Maybe he knew this material was beneath him in some way, despite wanting to dip his toes into the world of teenage seduction and violence and other nefarious things (just as he dipped his toes ever so much like a spaz in General Hospital). What he gives us here is not some story of an abusive relationship, at least not at the core. It starts with a young woman, Pearl, being turned into a vampire and killing her maker, though she is now joined with three other goth-vampire ladies looking like rejects from The Craft (a movie this wishes it could be by the way).
Then cut to five years later (for... reasons?) and Leila George (Leah) is a college student who loves the first Twilight book (but not those awful sequels, heavens no!) and tries out and gets the lead as Macbeth (because #Feminism). She meets Pearl - a photographer who "lives her life in the lab" - and the two fall in love... but then the vampire stuff comes to life - will she or won't she turn her new love - and things unravel from there. And story wise it's not so much a question from daughter to mother as it is a "Mom, get out of my life, I'm Lesbians with this girl! Sheesh, didn't you see the hashtag with feminism?" But mother knows best, right? There's a lot of weak story stuff here, and the worst part is that the director - who at first until I looked up the info I was sure was Franco under a pseudonym, but alas Aitkenhead has other credits - things she's making something cutting edge and spiky.
I wish the movie had gone further into the camp or into the subplot of the film which shows that the three main vampire chicks go to frat parties and take out douches who try and date rape girls. How cool does that sound, especially as a hardcore, bloody, no-holds-barred exploitation flick (or sexploitation for that matter)? Instead we get this half-assed treatise about being queer, and it's not at all subtle about it. There's a college professor who pops up from time to time (and I'm certain it was meant for Nicholas Brendon, aka Xander from Buffy, as this is discount Nicholas Brendon incarnate), and spells out the themes as they happen. Actually one of the good moments with aforementioned vampire attack at a party is mucked up by narration about being gay and this lifestyle being reflected somehow in the, uh, supernatural, and it feels hollow and false if it's trying to be something real, and hokey if it's trying to be over the top.
Mostly, tonally, this is pretty flat, though it has some moments of camp (in part due to, I'm sure also no accident, a much younger/less talented James Franco clone in Nick Eversman's Bob with his howlingly funny facial tics), and a game Spelling as the mother. But by the end, for all of the blood (or was that grape jelly at a few points) and sex (surprisingly lots of skin for as TV-14), I wanted it to stop, and even at this the movie couldn't get itself straightened out as the final five-seven minutes are a mess. As far as major Hollywood people coming into the airy, dopey but in its own bizarre way integral Lifetime movie world, I say skip this and seek out last year's intentional homage/spoof A Deadly Adoption with Will Ferrell and Kirsten Wiig.
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