VAMPS Movie Review
Written by Simon Bland
DVD released by Metrodome
Written and directed by Amy Heckerling
2012, 92 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 15th September 2014
Alicia Silverstone as Goody
Krysten Ritter as Stacy
Sigourney Weaver as Ciccerus
Dan Stevens as Joey
Malcolm McDowell as Vlad
Vampires famously don't age and neither does Alicia Silverstone, apparently. This enviable trait comes in handy for her latest performance, as the quintessential 90s star re-teams with her Clueless director for a satirical look at neck biting and dealing with immortality. In addition to bringing out arguably Silverstone's best performance in the aforementioned big-cell phoned, high-heeled flick, you may recognize director Amy Heckerling's name from another high school classic, Fast Times at Ridgemont High. With Vamps she brings her distinctly female lens to a hot genre that, as of late, has predominately been tackled by male filmmakers. Throwing in her two cents, Heckerling offers up a refreshingly light-hearted view of living with the undead.
Silverstone plays Goody, a modern-day vampire who's been kicking around for over a century and living in New York with a younger fellow vamp named Stacy (Krysten Ritter). Both were turned by their 'stem' vampire mistress Ciccerus (Sigourney Weaver) and spend their days drinking animal blood, attending vampire self-help sessions and trying desperately to fit in in nightclubs that they're just that little bit too old for. When Stacy meets the indiscreetly named Joey Van Helsing (Dan Stevens) and Goody crosses paths with an old flame (Richard Lewis), the duo start to re-evaluate their long-term blood sucking commitments and consider a normal life. However mortality comes at a price and with Joey's vamp-hating father on their tail; life is nothing short of complicated.
Pickering's Vam-Rom-Com tosses out the body count and blood drinking and opts for a more reflective view of the genre, ironic really considering vampires don't have reflections. As such, you shouldn't enter into this expecting to see action and bloodshed, Goody and Stacy are considerate vamps who'd much rather drink rat blood from a straw than 'off' easy human prey. In place of gore, Pickering uses the prism of immortality to point out the ridiculousness of modern day society, but almost to a fault. There are only so many ways you can point out that the kids of today text too much before it gets a bit old. That said, Heckerling does make time for a few nods to genre forefathers and her attention to detail concerning vampire lore is a nice touch that connects this romantic comedy to the horror realm.
Heckerling's movie also boasts quite a few familiar faces who, on the surface, might appear a little above something like this. After all, who'd have thought thespian Dan Stevens would have left Downton Abbey for Joey Van Helsing? With a plot that meanders along, Vamps isn't exactly going to keep you on the edge of your seat. However if you're looking for some good old popcorn fun, it'll do just fine.