Rose Hathaway (Zoey Deutch) is a Dhampir, half human/vampire, guardians of the Moroi, peaceful, mortal vampires living discretely within our world. Her legacy is to protect the Moroi Princess Lissa Dragomir (Lucy Fry) from bloodthirsty, immortal Vampires, the Strigoi. This is her story.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
I really did try to channel the 17 year old high school girl within, byzantine, bitchy scheming an' all, but it's a stretch too far, and had to be content with enjoying the performances. These collectively save the film from certain death by déjà vu and silliness, but then as I say, I'm not the target market. The diallogue also needs the right ears, snappy, snide, hurtful and colourful.
Richelle Mead's book has spawned what appears to be an attempt at a new franchise to take over from the Harry Potter & Twighlight series, the former providing the generic, castle-like, isolated, elite Academy setting, the latter providing the good vampires fighting off the bad vampires, with help from the Dhampir - closes to humans in this scenario, but with greater powers.
Rose Hathaway (Zoey Deutch) is a Dhampir, protecting Moroi Princess Lissa Dragomir (Lucy Fry) from the bloodthirsty, immortal Vampires, the Strigoi. After a fatal car crash at the start, they have formed a special mental bond, which is like a GPS tracker in Rose's mind. There are secret agendas, too, from the most unexpected characters, which threaten Lissa, the English rose to Rose's all American kick-ass heroine.
Gabriel Byrne is the ageing, shrinking grand old royal trying to find eternal youth, while Olga Kurylenko is the Academy's Headmistress, all blood red lips and swept back black hair, sneers and attitude with edgy menace. Sarah Hyland makes a great impression as Natalie, the bright little student with a surprise up her sleeve, and Danila Kozlovsky is the hunky fight trainer, Dimitri, working with Rose to improve her protective skills. The girls will no doubt offer shrill comments to the screen during a couple of their encounters, fully aware of what is actually going on, unseen by the male eye.
Technicals are seamless, including the magic effects of vampires practicing spells (fir, air, water) and the fight scenes are blurry but punctuated by solid sound design & mix.
Vampire Academy feeds the thirst for cinematic blood in this particular genre, a genre which builds addiction as strongly as blood lust. You don't need to be a vampire to get it.
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VAMPIRE ACADEMY (M)
CAST: Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry, Danila Kozlovsky, Gabriel Byrne, Dominic Sherwood, Olga Kurylenko, Sarah Hyland, Cameron Monaghan, Sami Gayle, Ashley Charles
PRODUCER: Susan Montford, Don Murphy, Deepak Nayar, Michael Preger
DIRECTOR: Mark Waters
SCRIPT: Daniel Waters (novel by Richelle Mead)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Tony Pierce-Roberts
EDITOR: Chris Gill
MUSIC: Rolfe Kent
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Frank Walsh
RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Studiocanal
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 6, 2014