Review: Vamps (Blu-ray)

2012/11/21 16:00:17 +00:00 | Derek Botelho

Vamps reunites writer/director Amy Heckerling with her Clueless star Alicia Silverstone in a film that is surprisingly sweet. The movie opens like Clueless, with Alicia Silverstone narrating her backstory:

Goody (Alicia Silverstone) and her BFF Stacy (Krysten Ritter) are two hopelessly romantic women who are longing for better days while working the night shift as exterminators. Will they ever find that one special guy to share their oh so long lives with? Oh, and did I mention they’re also vampires?

While watching Vamps, I couldn’t help but feel it was created solely for an early teen and even tween crowd, and not the older teenage market that Heckerling had cornered in the 80’s with Fast Times at Ridgemont High and in the 90’s with the aforementioned Clueless. Heckerling doesn’t seem to fare as well in the watered down world that this film seems to be catered to.

Yet, the film isn’t charmless. Heckerling is able to give the actors and their characters some rather melancholic moments of reflection that is a nice counter to the goofy light comedy that takes up the bulk of the running time. In particular, Goody reminiscing about her children is surprisingly effective.

The cast is all game, and they are all good in their roles, whether it’s the two leads playing off of each other nicely in any number of familiar scenarios, or Sigourney Weaver as the duo’s “Stem” (the vampire who sired them, to use Buffy speak). Richard Lewis shows up as the former love interest of Goody’s, and Wallace Shawn plays a descendant of Abraham Van Helsing to interesting effect. Justin Kirk of Weeds fame is a woman hungry vampire from Russia, and Dan Stevens of Downtown Abbey is charming as Stacy’s love interest.

As befitting a new film, Vamps looks great on Blu-ray. The colorful palette of the film really pops, and the little details in the appropriately cluttered sets really stand out. Sadly, there is some fairly awful CGI that is made even worse by such a clean presentation, but this is a minor quibble. The single audio track sounds good and the dialogue is clear, although there is some rather poor ADR in a few scenes that sounds pretty hollow and stands out next to the actual on-set track. Anchor Bay has released the film in a film-only version and there isn’t even a trailer for the movie itself attached. However, there are a few trailers for upcoming Anchor Bay titles.

Vamps is a movie I wanted to like it more than I did, but it's not terrible. It's just not Clueless and it's not Fast Times at Ridgemont High. It has some charming moments, and you can tell the actors and the director are into what they're doing, but it's a bit too sentimental and boy crazy to handle the rest of what it's trying to do. It feels more like a vampire movie made only for teens who like vampires, but may not be into the Twilight craze. As far as horror fans go, I can really only recommend this film to anyone who feels to the need to watch every vampire comedy every made or perhaps the odd Alicia Silverstone completist.

Film Score: 2.5/5  Disc Score: 2/5