Vampires Suck

On the plus side, Proske manages a good Bella impression.

It goes without saying that the Friedberg/Seltzer stable (responsible for Date Movie,  Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans and Disaster Movie to date) has turned out yet another abysmal dud in Vampires Suck, though in toning down the seemingly relentless toilet gags of their previous works and focusing their “humour” at one target (in the Twilight franchise), it is somewhat easier to take than most of their abominations thus far.

For the enfant terribles, Vampires Suck is a curiously focused – though never to be confused for reticent – spoof of its subject, not branching off into too many detours or non-sequiturs, though the endless slew of shameless pop-culture references are as painfully abundant as ever. Far more straight-forward than most of their films, it follows the plot of New Moon fairly closely, except Bella is now called Becca, the Cullens are the Sullens, the Volturi are the Zolturi, and Edward and Jacob are…Edward and Jacob.

The laugh quotient is, however, ever-so-slightly higher than usual here (increasing from one to maybe three), thanks to some actually funny people being employed this time. Diedrich Bader (memorable as the Miramax security guard in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and the mullet-wearing neighbour in Office Space) and Ken Jeong (the token Asian in just about every comedy since Knocked Up) should be working with the likes of Todd Phillips rather than slumming it here, but they make it all a little more tolerable. The lead actress, Jenn Proske, is also considerably less annoying than the previous Friedberg/Seltzer protagonists – she evokes more of an air of Scary Movie‘s Anna Farris, thankfully.

Still, let’s not get carried away and give the film or those in it too much credit; Vampires Suck is still a terrible film, full of idiotic, lazy humour that can’t even find a denominator to make common. The film’s only evidence that any subversive thought went into it at all comes from some of the eye-rollingly self-consicous dialogue. However, noting the Twilight series’ sillier elements in pretty much plain prose does not equal satire, spoofery or anything remotely approaching comedy. Aside from these snide interludes, a five-year-old could have written the screenplay, if it weren’t for the knowledge of crass stereotypes required.

Typically, something can run on fumes for only so long, and Vampires Suck rolls to the credits well before the 80-minute mark, thankfully. Still, to date the film has grossed upwards of $60m worldwide (against a $20m budget, and who knows where that went?), a disturbing comment perhaps on how easily audiences – mid-teens predominantly – will submit their cash to anything with remote cultural relevance to their own interests, no matter how stultifyingly it may be a sign of an impending apocalypse.

Vampires Suck opens on Friday, October 15th.


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