Alicia Silverstone, Amy Heckerling, comedy, Dan Stevens, Gael García Bernal, Horror, Justin Kirk, Kristen Johnston, Krysten Ritter, Malcolm McDowell, Marilu Henner, Meredith Scott Lynn, Natalie Gal, Richard Lewis, romance, Scott Thomson, Sigourney Weaver, Todd Barry, Vampires, Vamps, Wallace Shawn, Zak Orth
Written and Directed by Amy Heckerling
It really is a shame that more female Directors are not as notorious as their male counterparts in the film industry. They seem to make just as many strong comedic films or emotional drams as needed. Kathryn Bigelow, (The Hurt Locker) Mary Harron, (American Psycho) and Penny Marshall (A League of their Own) being easily some suggestions to mention with Heckerling and especially Penelope Spheeris (Wayne’s World)! But unfortunately even good directors can have an off day. I do hope that Twilight wasn’t what assisted in this idea/s that have started forming more modern definitions of vampires. It seems to be spiraling on the crazy train that needs to be stopped at some point.
Vamps tells the story of Goody (Alicia Silverstone) and Stacy (Krysten Ritter); two modern-day vampires living in the bustling city of New York. Stacy having been turned in 1992 is roommates with Goody (who saved her) claiming to be not too much older since it seemed to comfort her. It being an attempt to save a life and gain a friend, having been so lonely and the opportunity arises when convincing her stem Cisserus, (Sigourney Weaver) who had bitten her. A stem being a leader (basically) and choosing who they wanted to awaken. An old wives tale of killing the stem and everyone under their command able to become their current age. Another stem being Vlad (Malcolm McDowell) who stated if actually occurring that you would age at a much slower rate than the “dayplayers” and was apart of an anonymous group of other vamps who did not feed on humans. What they choose to do was much more disgusting to view as the two girls worked overnight pest control for a hospital (because that would really happen) and indulge themselves in rats, but not before putting straws to make it easier. Insert conflict here with Stacy falling in love with Van Helsing’s son and soon becomes pregnant. Yup, that nonsense once again. So it’s a fight as they gather together to try to take out Cisserus and go on with their lives…like they haven’t been a vampire for the past 20/200 years?
The Good: I guess it’s just a matter of opinion. What I choose to overlook and take as cute antics, you may just find annoying. Alicia Silverstone was a good choice, having already worked so well with Heckerling previously, probably for the best. I as well liked that her character was completely not with the times and couldn’t understand all the things having to do now to try to “fit in.” So it surprised me that Stacy could never figure out that she much older than leading on. In the beginning when Goody tells her story, I had recognized Richard Lewis in one picture and actually ended up liking his role of Danny in the film. The interaction between the Van Helsing family being humorous as well. Kristen Johnston not having a big role but Wallace Shawn being another random yet funny character. While only mentioned and shown on TV, Gael García Bernal had the part of Diego Bardem, who Cisserus chases after falling in love with on television. But that was about it. Zak Orth had a small part, having worked with Heckerling on Loser. The fight scene against the stem being entirely cartonney and poorly executed. Oh wait, wrong paragraph…
The Bad: It did generally bother me that the four main characters names ended the same, something small but I mean, come on. They also seemed to add so many new things to the topic of vampires that wasn’t anything needing to be added. Why do people keep doing this? They are already cool, you just need to be creative with the story, don’t add, just improve. (Daybreakers was a great modern story on vampires, I thought) Goody is approached by Vadim (Justin Kirk) at a club, saying he could sense Goody was a vampire to which she gets offended. But due to preferring the term E.L.F (extended life form); no, don’t let that trend. Then after a night out and “hooking up,” Goody finds Stacy hovering over the sidewalk as go home. There were several people who also knew of their existence with so much exposure and able to fix it by putting those under a trance, so now they’re the Men in Black. The group part of the movie was a bit much for me. When members get Jury Duty and other reasons of having to go to court, the great coincidence occurs of a total eclipse happening and how they worked around going out in the day. Although their groups session had the funniest bit in the movie when Rita (Meredith Scott Lynn) is first introduced (in the trailer).
Then taking an actress such as Sigourney Weaver for what was such a poor casting choice. I had heard that Michelle Pfeiffer had been cast until scheduling conflicts and while I didn’t like the part itself, could see Pfeiffer being the better choice to play such. They did sleep in coffins but needed dirt from their hometown in order to sleep comfortably. There was also a random sub-plot of Danny’s wife having Cancer and Vadim assisting in turning her into a Vampire to save her life. The scene had cheesy 80’s music with a rotating shot that was just too much. The story also had a tendency of not being consistent though I guess that’s expecting too much already. The ending turned out to be pretty sad with Goody waiting in the middle of Times Square and dissipating as the sun approached.
The Verdict: Simply being that if Cher (Clueless) had grown up and became a vampire that we’d have an almost identical movie. They could even call it, Clueless: The Lady is a Vamp. It was just an extremely “cutesy” movie. The only reason I was even able to sit through it more than once being certain Actors in the film. I always enjoy watching Malcolm McDowell and Zak Orth is always funny. Silverstone still is as pretty as ever and would have watched even if the only face I recognized. Krysten Ritter seems to be for these kind of roles, somebody has to be right? Though I’m sure “girly girls” will get the most enjoyment out of this (clearly) it wasn’t something worth rushing out to see and that ending..not sure how much weirder it could have gotten. In fact, watching the trailer could even suffice and you wouldn’t have to worry about that sappy ol ending.