Directed by Amy Heckerling
Distributed by Anchor Bay Films
If you were born in the Eighties or grew up as a teen in the Eighties, then you would know writer-director Amy Heckerling as a household name in your early memories. From Fast Times at Ridgemont High to her most “prolific” effort Clueless, Heckerling has proven over time that she is able to stay in touch with the teenage generation, and that is why it comes as an unforeseen and welcome change (to some at least) that she focuses on how staying young can get utterly exhausting with her latest film, the vampire comedy Vamps.
Vamps (because Vamps and the City would have been too cheesy of a title) stars Clueless icon Alicia Silverstone and “Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23” star Krysten Ritter as friendly, hip, stylish E.L.F.s (which stands for “Extended Life Forms”; apparently the term “vampire” is too politically incorrect) who live together in Manhattan. Although they are undead, they maintain somewhat normal schedules by attending night school, working as rat exterminators (which they eat) and going to support group “Sanguines Anonymous” to help curb the temptation of drinking human blood in between club-hopping with their human gay BFF, Renfield (Zak Orth).
Goody (Silverstone) was turned into a vampire in the 19th century and struggles with keeping up with the times, whereas Stacy (Ritter) was only turned in the early Nineties, making her easier to adapt with today’s generation.
Things take a turn for the dramatic when Stacy falls head over heels for Joey (Dan Stevens), who unfortunately happens to be the son of Dr. Van Helsing (played by Heckerling regular Wallace Shawn) , a man hellbent on slaying any vampire he comes across. Also, Goody runs into the former love of her life, who is played by famous comedian Richard Lewis. (Unfortunately he will be referred to as “‘the dude from the Snickers commercial” by many younger viewers.)
The duo then realize that the only way they can maintain normal lives is by killing their evil and immortal sire (Weaver) in order to become mortal… even though it will come at a fatal price.
Needless to say, if the synopsis in this review does not sell you, the movie definitely won’t either, and even appearances from Justin Kirk and Malcolm McDowell probably won’t help make you enjoy it. Vamps is full ick-worthy moments and laughable CGI effects, but miraculously there is a charm about it that is difficult to ignore.
The film is full of a slew of corny one-liners and outdated sitcom-like humor; however, just like the character Goodie, Heckerling does not aim to keep up with the times with Vamps and intentionally chooses to celebrate the past, which is something that will go over many modern horror fans’ heads who can’t wait to tweet a clever hashtag to accompany their scathing 140-character review on Twitter.
It purposely points out how the real vamps in society do not have fangs but rather have apps, touch screens, shows on the TLC channel and instant messaging features because although many would feel obligated to disagree, technology is really the culprit that is sucking the life out of people today.
Vamps is not a movie that will be appreciated by anyone who plans their next Instagram picture and background effects in a meticulous fashion. Rather, it is aimed at an older audience (mainly women) who appreciate the entertainment value of horror comedies in a simpler time and for those who don’t need to rely on detached ironic hipster humor to laugh out loud… or rather spell out LOL.
And also as a bit of a throwback to simpler times, Anchor Bay has released the film totally bare bones with no pesky special features to eat up any more of your time.
3 out of 5
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