Now I’m such a sucker (no pun intended) for any mystical school shenanigans, I was obsessed with The Worst Witch when I was a child, the happiest day of my life was visiting the Harry Potter studios and Buffy the Vampire Slayer is still my favourite TV programme of all time. Basically the idea of being at a mystical boarding school would be so appealing to me, so of course the idea of a Vampire Academy is going to be right up my alley.
Rose Hathaway (Zoey Deutch) 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. The dhampir protect the Moroi who co-exist peacefully among the humans, they have magic powers and suck blood but from human donors. There of course has to be baddies and these are the Strogoi blood-sucking, evil vampires who drink to kill. Still following?
Rose is plucky, quick talking and pretty bad ass and protects Princess Lissa (Lucy Fry) in this mystical high school romp which of course, like every good high school movie crescendos towards the school dance.
This film was directed by Mark Waters (Mean Girls, Freaky Friday) and the supporting cast includes Usual Suspect’s Gabriel Byrne and Joely Richardson. Modern Family’s Sarah Hyland is pretty awesome as nerdy Natalie.
In the wake of Twilight there has been a slew of vampire related young adult fiction including the Vampire Academy books this movie was based on. Each having their own take on things they have reinvented the genre, though maybe not intentionally most likely to write the terrible wrongs that Twilight did for women. Of course Twlight is an easy target, but Vampire Academy even makes reference to the franchaise, using it as the butt of it’s joke a fair few times, so they are obviously reacting against it in some way.
My feeling is that this is predominantly aimed at those who’s read and enjoyed the books. I enjoyed the film however at times for us Vampire Academy newbies the script seems to skip ahead quite quickly, and maybe it would have worked better as a series rather than a movie. It did put it on my radar though and prompted me to consider reading the books once I’d finished the Deborah Harkness series.
This isn’t a film for everyone but if you like high school dramas, badass girls who can kick ass, high-cheekboned men and a good mystical romp then you may enjoy this.
Action, Comedy, Fantasy
Running Time: 104 Minutes
UK Release Date: 14th July 2014
Directed by: Mark Waters
Cast: Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry, Danila Kozlovsky, Gabriel Byrne