Vampire Academy bites
They've given us two of the most seminal and cult high school tales of the past two decades but lightning can't strike for a third time for brothers Mark and Daniel Waters.
For this Harry Potter meets Twilight by way of Underworld, The Last Airbender and Cry Wolf is no Heathers nor Mean Girls, but rather a sloppily and choppily edited, tonally schizophrenic horror-comedy.
Despite jumping straight into the action, Vampire Academy quickly gets bogged down in the minutiae and complexities of Richelle Mead's 2007 source novel (the first of a shudder-inducing six) which sets out a tale of good vampires, their semi-vampiric protectors, bad vampires and bloodsucking finishing school St Vlad's Academy.
For the past year, good vampire princess Lissa Dragomir (bland Aussie actress Lucy Fry sporting a horrible English accent) has been on the run with her guardian Rose (Zoey Deutsch). But when they're hauled back to St Vlad's they find life without iPhone 5s and Facebook hard to adjust to.
Distrusted by headmistress Kirova (a campy and vampy Olga Kurylenko) and targeted by those jealous of her blue blood status, Lissa finds herself fearing for her sanity and safety while also being forced to test out her unique magical powers. Her special bond with Rose is also strained, especially when mastication rumours circulate about the pair. And while the constant threat of the bad vampires remains, an even bigger nightmare emerges from inside the school's gates.
"You're making it about high school, it's much more than that," complains Rose, but to be honest Vampire would have worked much better had it just concentrated on the arch undercurrent as espoused by the spiky and sparky Deutsch (daughter of Back to the Future's Mom Lea Thompson). For while it purports to take the mickey out of Twilight and its ilk it also eventually winds up following the formula right down to a Pattinson-esque love interest. The mystery element is closer to Scooby Doo than Nancy Drew , while the school's rules are more Hogwash than Hogwarts. With an intermittent voice-over and central-bond that's dangerously close to last year's horrific The Host , Vampire's only saving grace is a scene-stealing sidekick played by an actress who deserves bigger and better material.