Vampire fad continues with ‘Academy’

Posted April 8, 2014


The vampire fad that as swept bookstores and cinemas across the country has been rampant, but apparently it is not over yet.

“Vampire Academy” is the newest installments and, like its predecessor, “Twilight,” it is also based on a series of novels.

While the film wasn’t incredible, it is very easy to see why fans of the novels or fans of the vampire culture would like this film. It offers snarky punch lines and a cast of more than good-looking blood suckers. The starring cast is not star studded, but did include a couple of familiar faces such as Sarah Hyland from ABC’s “Modern Family.”

“Vampire Academy” begins with a flashback of the two main characters in a car crash. We later learn Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi vampire, a royal member of an ancient race of magical vampires. Morois have magical abilities and are able to control one of the four elements: water, earth, wind or fire.

Lissa was in the car with her family and Rose Hathaway, a Dhampir, a member of the half-human, half-vampire race dedicating to protecting their assigned Moroi. The two girls escaped from the academy after Lissa’s family passed away, but after a year were found by Guardians at the academy.

When the girls return to the academy, typical teenage drama ensues, except for the whole vampire thing. Lissa finds her ex boyfriend is dating someone new who bullies her and Rose on a constant basis, harassing her to the point of writing threatening bloody messages on her wall.

Lissa and Rose quickly develop new romances as the movie goes on and discover why a certain favorite teacher of theirs was let go from the institution after no one would explain why. Lissa and Rose also find that their long family friend, Viktor, is plagued with a disease and is dying. He asks Rose to watch over his daughter Natalie, played by Sarah Hyland.

Lissa possesses a very rare and different power and is actually able to control ‘spirit’ and bring creatures back from the dead. As the story continues filled with many characters and creatures, you find that one very unsuspecting person is behind Lissa’s harassment and wants to use her powers for their own means. After ending on a happy note, the ending gives obvious clues that there will be a sequel, which is expected since there are five more books in the series.

One thing about this film that is hard to wrap your head around were the three different types of vampires showcased: the Moroi’s, the Dhampir’s, and the Strigoi’s which are evil, blood-sucking, undead vampires who drink blood to kill. Strigoi’s were Moroi’s once who killed another Moroi and drank all their blood to become the way they are.

While Moroi’s also need blood to survive, unlike the Strigoi’s they only take blood from willing doners and live with humans in peace. Dhampir’s being half-human, half-vampire are able to eat anything they want and enjoy some blood every now and then. “Twilight,” was about vampires and werewolves and while a bit complicated, was not nearly as complicated as this.

The film did its best to make it easy to follow, but it seemed that, if you had read the novels, the story probably would have made more sense sooner.

One positive message this tween film gave to its audience was preaching about anti-bullying when Lissa stands up for herself and her fellow classmates at the end of the film. She speaks out against bullying, shaming, and fighting one another and the students leap to their feet and applaud her. It seemed a bit commercial, forced, and cheesy, especially after all the anti-bullying efforts that are happening now, but it’s always a great positive message to send to the audience of this film.

The jokes and lines seemed like a rip-off of “Mean Girls” meets “Twilight” and the visual effects made it very clear that this was a lower-budget film. But, fans of the series are loyal to their brand, although low box office returns seem to put a stake through the heart of any ideas for a sequel.

  • “Vampire Academy”
  • MPAA rated PG-13
  • 1 hour, 44 minutes
  • Directed by Mark Waters
  • Released Feb. 7, 2014
  • Playing at Paragon Grove 13, Regal South Beach Stadium 18, LeJeune Cinemas VI, AMC Sunset Place 24, Regal Cinemas at The Falls, and AMC Mall of the Americas 14