Opening 13 Mar 2014
Rose (Zoey Deutch) is a Dhampir, a half-vampire half-human whose life’s work is to protect her friend Lissa (Lucy Fry), a member of the vampire royalty, the Moroi. The Moroi are a peaceful race who only take blood from willing donors. Their lives are constantly at threat from the Drigoi, who have killed a human and gain extreme strength and insanity from this action. Rose and Lissa must face typical high school drama intermixed with constant threats due to Lissa’s favored position as the next heir to the throne. When Lissa begins to develop a previously unheard of power, Rose must try to keep her grounded while discovering who has been setting up a plot to undermine Lissa.
Rose is the center focus as she is the narrator, and this is the single factor that saves the film from being another terrible teen movie. Not to say that it isn’t also a terrible teen movie, but that it is actually an enjoyable terrible teen movie. Rose is genuinely likable. She is tough, charismatic and seems oddly reminiscent of Ellen Page in Juno (2007). Rose is the only thing that holds the rather ridiculous plot together and allows for the film to find a nice sweet spot between campy and fun. There is just one instance where the film seems to step over a line and that is the relationship between Rose and one of her teachers Dimitri (Danila Kozlovsky). Although in the books Rose is 17 and Dimitri is 24, this is less clear in the film where Rose seems about 17 and Dimitri looks like a 30-year-old. It definitely felt a bit creepy and was terribly distracting from the overall flow of the film.
Vampire Academy is probably not a film for most adults. It is clearly targeted for a young adult audience (and those adults who like the young adult genre), and there isn’t much there for anyone outside of that group. However, if you are willing to go along for the ride, it certainly has more going for it than the Twilight series, although I am not sure if that’s saying much at all. (Rose Finlay)