Vampire Academy Movie Review
Should you check out Vampire Academy based on the popular novel? Kidzworld saw it and reviews the pros, cons, excitement and romance.
By: Lynn Barker
Ever feel like you would die for your best friend? 17-year-old Rose Hathaway has sworn to do just that; protect her bestie Lissa Dragomir. In their high school world of good, half human and downright evil vampires, keeping safe is a little more difficult than spending an average day at the mall.
Best Friends in Hiding
After a violent car crash that killed family members, Rose Hathaway (Zoey Deutch) and bestie Lissa Dragomir (Lucy Fry) run away from St. Vladimir’s Academy (Vampire Academy) and live somewhat normal lives as roomies. Rose is a Dhampir (half vampire/half human) Guardian in training, sworn to protect vampire Morai princess Lissa from terrifying undead vampires called the Strigoi. They’ve been gone two years when more advanced and powerful Guardian Dimitri Belikov (Danila Kolovsky) overpowers Rose and takes the girls back.
Back at School
Lissa uses mental control to make the headmistress take Rose back. Dimitri will be Lissa’s Guardian until Rose is ready to protect her fulltime. It is discovered that the two girls have a special bond. Rose can feel and experience Lissa’s emotions, thoughts and location. Dimitri thinks this should make Rose an even better Guardian for Lissa. The girls realize that Lissa has lost her popular standing over two years. Nerdy Natalie Dashkov (Sarah Hyland) befriends them. Her dad Victor (Gabriel Byrne) is a high ranking Morai royal and is dying. Feisty Morai Mia (Sami Gayle), who is now dating Lissa’s ex-boyfriend Aaron, insults the girls at every turn.
Lissa is befriended by outcast Christian Ozera (Dominic Sherwood) whose parents elected to turn Strigoi years before (a big no, no). They were killed by Guardians. As Christian and Lissa grow closer, Rose doesn’t trust him. The girls learn that a favorite teacher Ms. Karp (Claire Foy) was sent away to a mental institution while they were gone. Rose, starts falling for her trainer Dimitri.
Lissa as Target
The situation gets worse when Lissa finds dead animals in her room and at school along with threat notes. Lissa falls into depression. She is able to heal people and animals but hasn’t yet chosen an elemental magic (based on Air, Water, Fire or Earth) as all Morai must. She also has “Spirit”, a rare ability to restore life from the brink of death. She’s overwhelmed as more threats occur.
Visit From the Queen
Vampire Queen Tatiana (Joely Richardson) visits the school and encourages Lissa to act like a princess. She’s embarrassed. She cuts herself. On returning to her room, there is a warning sign in blood telling Lissa that if she stays, she’ll die. Lissa snaps out of it and wants revenge. She starts using more mental compulsion and Rose “feels” it.
Lissa Fights Back, Rose Lies
Thinking Christian will harm Lissa, Rose tells him Lissa doesn’t like him. He feels dumped. Rose’s training and relationship with Dimitri become more serious. Researching, Natalie and Rose discover that Ms. Karp feared Strigoi were coming to get her. So much so that she finally turned Strigoi. Seeing how upset Lissa is about her current life, Rose tells Christian she lied about Lissa not liking him. Now Lissa is angry at her.
The Big Dance
The girls shop for dance dresses. Natalie’s dad Victor gifts Rose with a necklace that she wanted but couldn’t afford. The dance will be the last chance for any bad guys to get rid of Lissa because, after, she’ll be hidden for her own protection. At the dance, Lissa and Christian get together again and learn Mia wasn’t responsible for killing the animals.
Lissa is kidnapped, Rose goes to Dimitri for help and they end up almost having sex. Dimitri rips off her necklace. Victor has put a spell on it to drive them together. He is the bad guy! He has a genetic blood disease that can only be cured by Lissa’s powers and he will force her to use them, gradually draining her life from her. He killed the animals to see if Lissa could bring them back, testing her powers. Rose learns that Lissa brought her back from the brink of death during the car accident 2 years before. That makes her “shadow-kissed” and explains their special bond.
Rose, Dimitri and Christian fight Strigoi and other vamps to get Lissa back. Victor sends hell hound/werewolves against them but Christian destroys them with his elemental power, fire. Victor is captured and locked away. His daughter Natalie proves more powerful than expected. Will she help her friends or her father? Finally, Lissa choses the rare Spirit element as her power and gains confidence as a royal. Dimitri tells Rose he cares but can’t let his feelings make him too weak to be a good Guardian. The sequel is set up when we see what happened to Ms. Karp and where she is now.
Vampire Academy is full of funny, edgy dialogue and dark humor due to the style of screenwriter Dan Waters who also wrote the classic dark, high school comedy Heathers and his brother, Vampire Academy director Mark who directed the more recent snarky/fun Mean Girls.
The film seems to run close to the novel with a few things rearranged and tightened to fit into a decent movie timeframe. Book fans should be satisfied. Love scenes or near love scenes come off as pretty corny and naïve and the Rose character has so much narrator dialogue explaining each type of vampire and the set-up of the entire story that the film seems too “talky” at times.
Despite any flaws, casting does seem to fit the characters and Zoey Deutch, especially, does a fine job of conveying jokes, backstory and kick-butt action. Male casting seems to fit and attract as well.
Let’s face it, many think that the vampire genre, especially among high schoolers, has been done to death (pun intended) by now but for fans of the books and newbies alike, Vampire Academy is an entertaining combo of dark comedy, high school angst, romance and supernatural action. If you are a fan of those things, you’ll enjoy the film. We’ll go four stars.
Vampire Academy Movie Rating:
Vampire Academy is in theaters Now!