Vampire Academy: The Right School for You

Article written by:
Jurmane Lallana
Author: Jurmane Lallana
Jurmane is a comic book geek, movie aficionado, feature writer and bathroom singer. He is often mistaken for a giant teddy bear roaming around the metro.

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Photos Courtesy of the Weinstein Company (Vampire Academy)

Let’s be honest here. In the last five years of TV and cinema, we have been bombarded with a plethora of movies involving vampires, each one claiming to be the real deal when it comes to these supernatural creatures.  It is perfectly understandable that we develop a sort of intolerance towards them and suffer from vampire fatigue. Secretly, however, we all know we just want something new in this genre that will shake our preconceived notions, pique our interest and make us thirsty for blood again.

Can Vampire Academy be the one to bring back our thirst? You bet.

Based on Richelle Mead’s best-selling book, Vampire Academy tells the story of Rose Hathaway (Zoey Dutch) and Lissa Dragomir (Lucy Fry), students of the mysterious St. Vladimir’s Academy, and their special connection with each other. Although they are the best of friends, they couldn’t be more different from each other. While Lissa is delicate, classy and relies on magic to get things done (she’s a princess, after all), street smart Rose does everything she can to protect the former with her most basic arsenal: her fists. Together, they need to deal with high school bullies, an annoying headmistress, awkward boys, random acts of vandalism and violence, raging hormones, broken bones, growing up and avoiding the soulless vampires called the Strigoi – not particularly in that order. Sounds simple, right?

If the good type of marketing makes you want to watch a movie, a strong opening sequence keeps you invested in it. Vampire Academy compels viewers from the start. Within the first five minutes, we are absorbed into their fight for survival and discover why the stakes are high. The film details their societal structure, shows the internal struggles of their kind and where our two heroines fit in all of this. In spite of the gravity of the situation, it avoids the pretentious route of making the flick about saving the whole world. Instead, we are drawn to simply care for the destiny of Rose and Lissa.

Vampire Academy relies on a number of things in making it an entertaining watch. It brings something new to the table because it depicts vampires as beings who are so much more than the immortal bloodsuckers they are always imagined to be. Clearly, blood is still a necessity but it hardly defines who they are. From top guardian Dimitri Belikov (Danila Kovlovsky) who takes Rose under his wing (and actually does more than that) to Natalie Dashkov (Sarah Hyland), the eccentric loner-turned-friend, we realize that they experience the same problems that we do and thus become more relatable. Humor and witty dialogue, without a doubt, are the strongest points of this film (The hilarious Twilight references come to mind). They are consistent all throughout and keep the adventure exciting and on full throttle. The tone of Vampire Academy manages to shift flawlessly from romance to teenage problems to the imminence of death in a matter of minutes. Whew, talk about efficiency!

The cast of Vampire Academy is full of fresh young talent. Zoey Deutch and Lucy Fry take chemistry to a whole new level with their sisterly antics while Dominic Sherwood brings Christian Ozera to life, the resident broody student of St. Vladimir’s. Although the majority of the characters are played by newcomers, Hollywood veterans Joely Richardson, Olga Kurylenko and Gabriel Byrne contribute their experience to make the ensemble a solid one.

In the end, Vampire Academy does not confine itself as an action-packed vampire movie which simply pits good against evil. It explores the experience of coming of age in a mysterious world where nothing is what it seems. With its right balance of silliness, emotion and danger, it engages the audience and invites them to join in the hunt to find the real enemy lurking in the shadows.  The film is definitely not for everyone but if you want your favorite supernatural to be as close to being human as possible, then this is your cup of blood.

Oh snap, I mean tea. Cup of tea!

   

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