Film Review – I Kissed a Vampire
The press materials for I Kissed a Vampire, directed by Chris Nolan (not that Chris Nolan), want you to know that it is a perfect mixture of Twilight and Glee/High School Musical. I am not a big fan of the “Movie C = a perfect combination of Movie A + Movie B” equation, but it kind of works here, if only to show you what they were aiming for. (But not where they actually landed.) If you have an unsophisticated young person in your life between the ages of seven and twelve who loves Justin Bieber and doesn’t know what Auto-Tune is, he or she might really enjoy this movie. (And, if my daughter’s high school had put this on as a musical, it would have been AWESOME. For reals.) But, for anyone over twelve, this movie is going to be hard to sell; which is fine, not every movie needs to be for everybody.
Teenager Dylan Knight (Lucas Grabeel) is having some issues he needs to talk over with his therapist. It turns out he was bitten by a vampire, and he isn’t quite sure what to do about it. Things get weirder for him when vampire Trey Sylvania (Drew Seeley) starts appearing in his dreams and encouraging him to enjoy his new bitey nature. Dylan is more concerned about protecting his girlfriend Sara (Adrian Slade) from his urge to bite her than with embracing evil, but his greatest fears come true when she is bitten by Trey and begins to turn. Dylan comes clean with Sara, and explains the mysterious changes that are taking place in her body. (In any other movie, there would be some subtext about puberty or budding sexuality, but not here. There is no subtext here. One could also argue that there isn’t much text either.) Together they search for a cure to their predicament, and encounter Dr. Dan Helsing, a vemonologist. He claims to have a cure for what ails them, but they will need to get some of Trey’s blood for the antidote. They use Sara’s newly discovered psychic bond with Trey to track him down, and thus adventure ensues. Also, there are lots of songs.
Review for Parents with Kids 12 and Under: This is not the best thing that your kid is ever going to see, but it is not quite the worst either. If your child has shown an interest in watching Buffy or Twilight, but you don’t really think they are ready yet, this might be a good alternative. It is super duper sanitized: you know which boy is evil because he is wearing eyeliner. The lady vampires dress kind of slutty, but nothing’s really low-cut or actually revealing in any way. The leads are all pretty clean cut and blandly attractive, and the kissing is completely sterile and passionless. There really isn’t that much plot, and the songs are inoffensive and poppy. I caught one swear word (“damn”), but that was about it. (This film is rated PG.) All the references to anything that might possibly be dangerous to young hearts and minds are very mild and watered down; there are a few allusions to sexuality, but they are only lightly touched upon. The songs are not too bad, and you probably won’t kill yourself if you have to hear them more than once in the background.
Review for People 13 and Older: There is nothing for you here. Move along now. Oh, you want more? Okay. Fine. I was confused when first watching, because the quality of the movie was really poor, and I kept being reminded of cable access shows where they videotape community theater. Watching this was not a very cinematic experience, and I am not really sure why this is a movie. (I know this was developed as a web series first, but I have not seen it.) I am serious when I say that this would make a great play for high-schoolers to put on, but it’s not so great in this format. However, I’m woman enough to hang with a low budget, so once I adjusted my expectations, it was much easier to watch. But it turns out that the plot is just a coat hanger for the songs to hang on. Which is fine, except that the songs suffer from the same thing that everything else in this movie does: blandness. There are some catchy tunes, but they all kind of sound the same after a while, and there are A LOT of songs. I wish that the non-singing parts of the movie had been improved upon and that the songs had been thinned out so only the best remained. It should also be noted that the choreography is crazy bad, so bad it is hilariously funny. There are some other mildly humorous moments, but this isn’t one of those movies that is going to entertain the whole family. I would totally let my ten-year-old watch this; I just couldn’t bear to be in the room while she did.
Final Grade (12 and Under): C–
Final Grade (Over 12): D-