Vampires Suck

Vampires suck – but does the movie? We open on the San Salvatore Festival with the angsty Becca watching her beau, Edward Sullen, disrobe and expose his sparkly secrets- he’s a vampire! Cue the “True Blood- 40oz” toting, Mono-fang vampire to take Edward out….wait, we have to get the rest of the story! What follows is a parody of the first two movies of the Twilight Saga. Most of the characters analogous to the spoof’s target are introduced in the first 30 minutes; few of them are actually seen again throughout the movie.

Becca (newcomer Jenn Proske) is forced to move to Sporks, Washington, with her deadbeat father and town sheriff, Frank Crane (Diedrich Bader of The Drew Carey Show). Frank’s best friend is the rough-and-tumble paraplegic Native American, Bobby. His contribution to the plot is his hunky teenage son, Jacob White (Chris Riggi of Gossip Girl). The town of Sporks seems to have vampires on the brain and its population is only growing smaller.

Our heroine is introduced to Edward Sullen (Matt Lanter of Disaster Movie) and what follows is the “classic” story of girl-meets-vampire, girl-loses-vampire, girl-gets-threatened-by-vampire-nemesis, etc. Writers/Directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer use their formulaic approach to spoof movies by making the plot a cliff-notes version of the Stephanie Meyer’s original material, with ample jokes thrown in-in an attempt to beef up their rendition.

In fact, there are so many visual jokes in the movie that it left me wondering what a sight-impaired person might conclude of the movie. “What are all these people laughing at?” I noticed a few of the dialogue driven jokes weren’t even played off by the actors. They seemed to have been missed by everyone, including the editors. Other jokes are pop-culture references that will get stale with time. They’re integrated well, but definitely dated. The movie is redolent with the classic American comedy tradition of slapstick, which occasionally comes off as funny.

The production value left something to be desired as several scenes were obviously one-takes. I counted several instances where Becca’s kiss left Edward’s mouth with a smudge of his own flesh-tone showing through. But hey- at least single takes have continuity, right? The contacts, no doubt purchased in bulk, gave the characters an occasional Marty Feldman goggly-look. The effect is hilarious, although I’m not always sure if it’s intentional.

The cast has its standouts. Jenn Proske’s Becca comes dangerously close (like copyright-violating close) to the performance of Kristen Stewart’s Bella as the fidgety, twitchy, sullen and hormone-y heroine. And Ken Jeong (The Hangover) as Daro, while not appearing on screen much, definitely makes his comedic presence felt.

All in all, “Vampires Suck” didn’t really suck… it kind of chews, like gum. Gum out of the package is fresh, flavorful, but the longer you chew it, the tougher and more stale it becomes. This movie is fresh, funny, and quirky right now, but it won’t stand the test of time like more accomplished parodies.

2.5 out of 5 stars