Vamps is a 2012 light horror/comedy from Clueless and Look Who’s Talking Director Amy Heckerling. With all the ingredients to appeal to the mainstream audiences who like this so-called ‘veggie vampires’ trend, Vamps perhaps won’t feed the appetites of blood-thirsty seasoned horror fans.
Centring around two Manhattan based fanged females Goody (Clueless star Alicia Silverstone) and Stacy (Breaking Bad actress Krysten Ritter), the film explores the nightly lives of the two as they hit the night clubs, go on dates and avoid human blood! With the prime theme focused on friendship, Goody is hiding the truth about her history from Stacy in order for them to relate to each other. Sired in 1840 by the flesh hungry Cisserus (the legendary Sigourney Weaver), Goody has seen and done it all. Having been around for centuries; Goody struggles with constant changes in society while Stacy (also sired by Cisserus but in the 90’s) effortlessly adapts to the times.
Both women experience love and loss while trying to protect their vampire community from being uncovered and exterminated off the face of the planet while battling Cisserus’s thrall. Soon enough, they start to discover that living forever can totally suck!
Vamps could be considered as the ideal ‘girl’s night in’ movie, it’s tame enough in terms of going easy on the gore and doesn’t attempt to be anything too profound. More than anything it has a consistently sentimental tone layered with the cheesiness present in the typical romantic comedy genre.
Silverstone and Ritter provide good performances and bring believability to their characters. Their chemistry does manage to keep the film entertaining enough through the duration however with the predictable plot at play it does tend to drain the life out of the viewer pretty quickly! However that’s if you’re not a romantic comedy fan.
To its credit, Vamps starts out pretty strongly, almost like a Disney fairy-tale then transcends into a montage throughout the decades establishing Goody’s backstory. For some reason it tends to repeatedly ram this down our necks with frequent flashbacks throughout the film taking away any interesting elements it first introduced. There is definitely a 90’s aesthetic about the movie as Heckerling showcases her signature filmmaking style and there’s a genuine love and appreciation toward the silent era of film with clips featured from Un Chien Andalou (1929) and a Trip to the Moon (1902) that’s most welcome. Vamps however won’t generate the success of Heckerling’s earlier offerings.
Vamps displays some interesting vampire lore and does try to be its own thing while having fun with the concept, it’s not to be taken seriously by all means but maybe with a little more depth it could have been a real interesting film.
Some of the comedy does work well particularly with Malcolm McDowell’s character, a spoof of Vlad the Impaler as well as the introduction of the Van Helsing family, where Stacy becomes romantically entangled with the son. Even the Vamp Face effects are done well and come in sharp and fast giving the audience a fun surprise.
Overall Vamps didn’t captivate this gore-loving, hardcore horror fan but it still has its merits. It is watchable enough and preferable than another recent vampire offering, the pretentiously dull Only Lovers Left Alive.
Take a bite out of Vamps on September 15th for its UK DVD/Blu-Ray release.