Movie Number– 143
Title– Vampires Suck (2010)
Running Time– 82 minutes
Director– Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer
Writer– Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer
Starring– Jenn Proske, Matt Lanter, Chris Riggi, Diedrich Bader
(Originally an IP Movies Review)
Satires have existed long before films; Knight of the Burning Pestle by Francis Beaumont, first performed in 1607, is cited as being the first whole parody play in English. This play mocked the upper class, the middle class, and other plays themes of the time. The point is that parodies are nothing new, especially nowadays with the emergence and success of the Scary Movie franchise a decade ago. Since then, theatres have been filled with these (mostly mediocre) films from Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, including Date Movie, Epic Movie, Disaster Movie, and so on. Vampires Suck is the latest of these parody films from Friedberg and Seltzer, but they struggle to capture the humor and fun of the series that catapulted this genre: Scary Movie.
Vampires Suck has a specific target audience, and anyone who hasn’t seen (or read) the Twilight series will be completely lost as the plot is reliant on the viewer knowing the story of Twilight and its sequel(s). However, with movies like these, usually the more the viewer knows about the source material, the funnier the film is. In this case, the opposite is true: I know the Twilight series thanks to my girlfriends obsession. I have seen the movies multiple times, and know the story well. In the case of Vampires Suck, the more the viewer knows of the original material, the more they will feel the need to throw his or her Blu-ray disc in the trash.
Vampires Suck is the story of an emo girl, Becca Crane (Jenn Proske), and her love affair with the vampire, Edward Sullen (Matt Lanter – Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Disaster Movie). In Twilight, the obvious battle is whether Bella will choose the vampire Edward or the werewolf Jacob as her lover; that is not really a dilemma in Vampires Suck, which leaves me scratching my head. How does a Twilight parody leave out that the Bella character is torn between two lovers? In Vampires Suck, Becca presumably has a relationship with Edward Sullen, though this is never actually shown, and instead, is implied. Edward decides to leave Becca for her own safety, but when he fears she might be dead, he decides to expose himself as a vampire, which will get him killed by the elder vampires. Again, anyone who hasn’t seen Twilight will find it near impossible to follow this plot.
Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer – the duo that wrote and directed Vampires Suck – have managed to fit just about every pop-culture reference into the 82-minute time frame as humanly possible, including “the douchebags from Jersey Shore” (their quote, not mine). The Jonas Brothers, The Wizards of Waverly Place, Taylor Swift, Chris Brown, and purity rings are all included, but not one reference manages to be funny or creative. In fact, the only time I laughed out loud was when Jacob’s wolf pack came out and started doing something I genuinely didn’t expect. Excepting this one moment of humor, Vampires Suck tried too hard to be funny, which never works.
The acting is difficult to judge in a film like this as it is supposed to be over-the-top and unrealistic. The cast had potential to be hilarious, with the likes of Ken Joeng (The Hangover, Knocked Up, Role Models), Diedrich Bader (The Drew Carey Show, Office Space), Ike Barinholtz (Mad TV), and Dave Foley (The Kids in the Hall, Newsradio), but these actors were almost all underutilized by the directors. The only actor above who was used well was Deidrich Bader (who played Becca’s father). This is not the actors’ fault, obviously, but the directors’.
One character that stands out is Jennifer, played by Anneliese van der Pol (That’s So Raven). She was overacting her ass off, but it managed to work for her more so than the others. She managed to make me smile the most thanks to her commitment to the absurdities that were happening around her. Jenn Proske, playing Becca, was beautiful, but underwhelming as a Bella parody. Anyone who knows anything about Kristin Stewart knows how often she bites and/or licks her lips. Proske only bit her lip one time throughout the entire film. This shows a disregard to the source material that I have respected Friedberg and Seltzer for in the past. In fact, this film suffers from this fact throughout: the filmmakers could have watched the Twilight series once and gotten everything they needed out of it to produce this movie, which is a disappointment. When watching a parody film, I want to feel like the filmmakers have studied the source material extensively. That isn’t the case at all with Vampires Suck.
I’m not one to shun a movie easily because I understand how difficult the process is, and respect the commitment by the actors, directors, writers, and so on, greatly, but Vampires Suck would have been more aptly named Vampire Parodies Suck. I know that is a terrible “joke”, but that is what Vampires Suck is: one bad “joke” after another, for nearly an hour and a half. With a nonsensical plot, stupid humor that rarely manages to be funny, and little respect paid to the source material, Vampires Suck is an obvious cash grab attempt that fails miserably.
Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn’t until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.