The Waters brothers are no strangers to dark comedies starring high school. Screenwriter Daniel Waters’ known for writing “Heathers.” His younger brother Mark Waters directed “Freaky Friday” and “Mean Girls.”
Now, the siblings have teamed up to deliver a new dark comedy: “Vampire Academy,” based on the best-selling young adult fantasy novels by Richelle Mead.
The story — which takes place in a very dumbed down version of White Wolf’s “Vampire the Masquerade” role-playing universe — follows two girls united by a bond deeper than friendship. Seventeen-year-old Rose Hathaway (Zoey Deutch) is a spunky, Buffy-esque Dhampir — a half-human, half-vampire assigned to guard the mortal and magical Moroi vampire bloodline with her life. Her best friend, Lissa Dragomir (Lucy Fry), happens to be a Moroi princess and the last of the Dragomirs, (her family died in a car accident). The two attend St. Vladimir’s Academy, a posh vampire boarding school where they train in fighting or magic.
But since this is high school, and therefore (as media suggests) a microcosm of “hell,” the two are tangled in the usual gossip, backstabbing and melodrama over boys. Lissa likes Christian (Dominic Sherwood), a broody Robert Pattinson and young Christian Slater look-alike. Rose likes her Russian fighting instructor, Dimitri (Danila Kozlovsky). But being a teenager’s tough, especially when boys and social popularity aren’t their only priorities. Dead animals on doorsteps and bloody messages on walls suggest you-know-who, I mean, an enemy darker than adolescent tomfoolery (Don’t worry, there aren’t any giant snakes like there are in “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”).
“Vampire Academy’s” entertaining if you don’t think. Unlike “Twilight’s” weak and insipid heroine Isabella Swan, “Vampire Academy’s” Rose is brave and sassy. But despite a biting line about how Dhampirs and Moroi don’t sparkle in sunlight, “Vampire Academy” resembles every other vampire soap opera.
The appeal lies in the same vein as HBO’s “True Blood” or CW’s “Vampire Diaries,” even if we’re ashamed of them: our primitive Freudian instincts of love and death — qualities inherent in the beasts’ very nature.
“Vampire Academy” was directed by Mark Waters and written by Daniel Waters, based on Richelle Mead’s book.