Vampires Suck (2010)

Vampires SuckReviewed by The Foywonder

Starring Jenn Proske, Matt Lanter, Chris Riggi, Diedrick Bader, Ken Leong

Written and directed by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer

The scam artists responsible for Date Movie, Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans, and Disaster Movie are back with their latest con, Vampires Suck, one of those rare movies with a self-reviewing title. Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer are widely reviled as the most untalented filmmaking hacks in the business today. That the DVDs for some of their previous crimes against cinema have boasted commentary tracks of film critics ripping on how terrible their films are only cements my belief that they are con men that know they’re untalented hacks and don’t care because they’ve found some success with their special brand of cheap, lazy, crudely constructed comedies so depressingly unfunny they leave you longing for the comparatively upbeat nature of a Lars von Trier movie.

For the remainder of this review I will refer to Friedberg & Seltzer simply as “F&S” for short. F&S is kind of like S&M, except there are actually people that derive pleasure from the pain generated by S&M. If you know anyone that derives pleasure from F&S, those people are to be shunned for the betterment of mankind.

The mental anguish of Vampires Suck began immediately with a hopelessly incompetent opening sequence that wraps around to the climax set at the high school prom. The alleged jokes in this pre-title portion included teenage girls representing “Team Edward” and “Team Jacob” hitting one another with shovels, a naked sparkling vampire with a glimmering disco ball covering his privates, a vampire drinking a bottle of “True Blood”, another vampire applying suntan lotion, and a vampire revealing a single triangular fang like that you’d see on a vampire chipmunk, which, by the way, we will actually get one of later on. By the time the title appeared on the screen, I was fully prepared for an experience about as enjoyable as teabagging a blender.

Vampires SuckThe one thing working in these grifters’ favor is this time they have an actual structure to build upon (key scenes and plot points from the first two Twilight movies) unlike, say, their previous sham, Disaster Movie, the first ever full-length motion picture based around parodying scenes from the trailers of movies that had yet to open at the time of filming. Doesn’t change the fact that the best they can come up with still produces fewer laughs than b-roll footage from a snuff film.

Twilight is so rife for parodying; yet, these two cinema swindlers consistently miss their target by relying on their usual disarray of jokes that are just excuses to make a pop culture reference regardless of its lack of context, jokes that go for lowest common denominator punch lines, jokes they run into the ground even after they flopped the first time, jokes meant to make you groan that still end up doing so for the wrong reasons, jokes that actually require the actors to explain the joke and why it’s supposed to be funny, and I lost track of the sheer number of times I was expected to laugh just because someone got randomly hit hard in the head, face, or back. Even understanding what makes basic slapstick work is asking too much of F&S. They also operate under the mistaken assumption that if someone angrily shouts “bitch” at the end of a sentence, that automatically makes the line funny. They even end their movie in such a manner.

Moody teenage heroine Bella Swan, sullen vampire Edward Cullen, and angst-ridden teen wolf Jacob Black have been cleverly renamed Becca Crane, Edward Sullen, and Jacob White. The town of Forks, Washington is now named Sporks. This is as clever as it gets.

“Just your breathing is the greatest gift you could ever give me,” says vampire Edward, crouched over a sleeping Becca. Then she farts in his face, and he tumbles backwards out of her bedroom window.

“We only feed on animals and the Real Housewives of Atlanta.”

Vampires Suck“The blood was drained from his body and he had multiple bite wounds on his neck. You know what that means? The Kardashians are in town.”

“Once you go bat, you never go back”

“Promise me, Becca, that you won’t do anything reckless.”
“I promise I won’t date Chris Brown.”

Their big joke with werewolf Jacob is that he turns into a chihuahua instead of a wolf. Do they have him do anything funny as a chihuahua? Nope. Nothing. Nada. Why try being creative when you can just have the other members of his pack, shirtless, wearing only sneakers and jorts, dancing gay to “It’s Raining Men”? Didn’t they recycle that “It’s Raining Men” scene from Meet the Spartans? Even if they hadn’t, that was really the best joke, let alone best gay joke, they could dream up? Did they sit around debating for hours between having them dance to “It’s Raining Men” or “Who Let the Dogs Out” and decide on the former because the cheaper gay joke required less actual thought?

How do they parody Dakota Fanning’s character and her psychic ability to inflict indescribable pain (much like what I felt during the pre-title and third act of this film)? They don’t. They found a way to shoehorn in pointless references to “Jersey Shore”, “Gossip Girl”, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Alice in Wonderland, and so on (shockingly, no Justin Bieber jokes!), but a single gag mocking an aspect of Twilight begging for riffing was somehow asking too much.

Another gag sees Edward fighting off a pair of vampires by tossing them into tanning beds, their legs shown twitching as they roast. But these are Twilight vampires and Twilight vampires aren’t supposed to burn in sunlight – they sparkle, a conceit F&S had already poked fun at twice by the time of this scene. These two are such inept writers I wouldn’t even trust them to write a check.

Vampires SuckSo many opportunities are missed it reached the point I found myself thinking what I might have done with certain scenes. Like when the evil redheaded vampire based on the Victoria character from Twilight gets written out of the film never to be seen again; the dreadlocked vampire holds up a photo of Bryce Dallas Howard (who replaced the original Victoria actress in the latest Twilight sequel) and makes a comment – not a joke – about how the role had been recast. They thought that would generate laughs? How about saying the role has been recast and then have Clint Howard (Bryce Dallas Howard’s real-life uncle) emerge in drag dressed as Victoria? Maybe it would have gotten a laugh, maybe it wouldn’t, but at least it would have been an attempt at an actual pun rather than just a lame observation masquerading as a punchline.

Perhaps the only unintentional success of Vampires Suck was that I often couldn’t tell the difference between the two leads in this parody and their actual Twilight counterparts. I dare say newcomer Jenn Proske does a better Bella Swan than Kristen Stewart, and I’d even go so far to say she’s prettier, too. Matt Lanter’s tongue-in-cheek take on every teenage girl’s undead albino wet dream isn’t all that different from Robert Pattinson aside from Lanter looking less like someone experiencing nicotine withdrawal and, of course, his lack of eyebrows that can double for Seventies porn mustaches. I fully expect to see these two in better films in the future, although given this is Lanter’s second session in the F&S dungeon, having previously starred in Disaster Movie, maybe not.

Vampires Suck is a pathetic reminder of how the art of the spoof movie has been all but lost since about 1995. A Jonas Brothers joke was the only line that garnered so much as a faint chuckle out of me, possibly because it was one of the only in a myriad of lame pop culture of the moment jokes that actually had a set-up and some context to it. To see how the comedic talents of Diedrich Bader and Ken Jeong go to waste here is nothing short of criminal. Ah, hell, the whole movie is a crime. Scam artists, I tell you.

Before anyone tries to argue that I’m not the right person to judge Vampires Suck because I’m not a member of the target demographic, I dragged my 16-year-old Twilight-loving niece along with me into this movie hell. She hated it so much it may have actually cured of her of her love for all things Twilight. I only heard her laugh once, and whenever I glanced over to gauge her reaction to the drivel we were watching, she appeared disgusted. Somewhere around the midpoint she leaned over to ask how much longer it would go on; from then on I noticed that she sat arms folded and stone-faced until the ordeal was finally over. Asking her what she thought afterwards, her one-sentence review muttered in a hushed yet very stern voice, “It was foul!” When I jokingly suggested we watch it again, she shot me such an icy stare that if looks could kill, this review would be my epitaph.

Zero Knives, Bitch!

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  • e-x-i-t

    i would have made the most out of it and looked around to see the stares i got for showing up with a 16 year old…maybe that gag would work better at a polanski film.

  • Nomad

    HA! Couldn’t agree more. The bunch of us sat around, agreeing the film wasn’t as painful as a Twilight movie but still, very painful. Like a kick in the nuts with a softer shoe, if you will. We decided they’d tricked us into watching another twilight movie either way.

    Besides all the unfunny, they missed the golden opportunity to make fun of all the other Vampire movies and TV shows!! I will admit to several laughs from the spoof Bella and Edward who must have endured hours upon hours of film watching to nail down Bella’s every facial tick, downward glance and almost smile while Edward’s far away “do you smell that?” look was perfection. At one point Edward grips “Becca’s” face tightly, smushing her nose to one side, raising her eyebrows and nearly mock examining her teeth. THOSE moments were the funny ones. I was baffled they didn’t take the opportunity to parody Bella’s multi- season screaming fit, but we do get some awesome yelling none the less.

    So, yes, this is less painful than an actual Twilight film, but pretty fucking bad none the less.

  • theGoldenSimatar

    At the theater I work at, the first show we had sold about 30 tickets…both times I walked in to do theater checks….only one chuckle was heard from one person. Grant it, next show we sold 99 and the next about 120…and in those the IQ dropped as the numbers went up.

    I rather sit through all the Twilight films before watching this. And if it wasn’t for the fact ‘spoof’ was protected from copyright laws, they woulda gotten their butts sued. Oh I only wish….

  • Rob

    Great review. The last paragraph also made me very curious to read a full length review written by your niece. You should ask her about that.

    • Foywonder

      Get her to write something? I don’t even know for sure if she’s still willing to speak to me anymore after subjecting her to this.

  • GJW

    I’m not a comedy fan to start with. I usually just watch a comedy with a blank expression,rarely laughing. I guess I’m too serious of a dude. Although I do act a fool at times heh. But when it comes to “parody” comedy,I find those the worst. All those Scary Movies,Disaster movies,Superhero Movies types,I find just plain stupid and not funny at all.

  • Genrewriter

    I’m torn on whether it would take more unbearable torture to get me to watch this movie, or an actual Twilight film. They’re neck and neck to be honest.

    • Foywonder

      If nothing else, at least Vampires Suck is only about 75-minutes long. It may have even been shorter than Jonah Hex.

      • Genrewriter

        True, but with bad comedies, every minute tends to feel like an eternity for me.

  • Feenix

    *stands and applauds*

    As I commented on FB, there’s no one here better to review this film.

    Coming from someone who’s a huge fan of spoofs and parodys, they’ve certainly gone WAY downhill. I grew up with people like Mel Brooks, Abrhams & Zucker, and Weird Al. F&S even makes some of the Wayans later, more tiresome crap look genius.

    • Foywonder

      It just kind of seems to me that the downhill slide for spoof movies began around the time of Dracula: Dead & Loving It and then Scary Movie set the stage for the genre to reach these new lows set by F&S.

  • Uncle Creepy

    The sick thing? The chick playing the Bella character is a better actress than Stewart.

  • Mr. Dark

    I liked it.

    This may call for a rebuttal review. 🙂

    • Uncle Creepy

      That’s probably only because your wife made you sit through the Twilight movies which are miraculously even less bearable than this mess.

      • Mr. Dark

        Ironically, we were BOTH forced to sit through them. Long story, but she hates the glittery bastards as much as I do.

        I just feel like this movie is for one specific audience: men who have been forced to sit through the Twilight films. Those people will ‘get’ 90% of the gags, and they’re solid enough to lead to 80 minutes of chuckles. Yeah, it’s simple humor. Dick and fart jokes. What can I say, you drop a bowling ball on a baby, and I’m gonna giggle. 🙂

    • Foywonder

      Shunned. :)~

      Write that rebuttal review. Just remember the time I gave The Gingerdead Man 4 knives and nobody has yet to let me live that down and your defending this beyond garbage would be like that times a billion. Go for it. Be Tila Tequila at an Insane Clown Posse concert if you dare. Not worth it, man.

    • The Woman In Black

      I didn’t exactly “like” it but thought it was a bit more bearable than Foy’s review indicates. Mainly because of how great Proske was. Hopefully she’ll get some offers as a result. I agree that they should have spoofed other vamp shows — drinking True Blood and having a character named Salvatore was peanuts compared to what they could have done.