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Vampires Suck (Jason Friedberg | Aaron Seltzer, 2010)


If any current film franchise deserves to be skewered in the singularly juvenile manner of directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, it has to be the Twilight series. While there hasn’t been much evidence that Twilight fanatics have much humor about their obsession, if they do, they’d be the ideal audience for the surprisingly faithful feature-length parody Vampires Suck. While Vampires Suck aims closely at its key target, namely the overheated teen romance that fueled Stephanie Meyer’s empire, it works. The plot here closely mirrors that of the first two Twilight movies, offering the majority of the films’ key scenes within a total run time that’s shorter than that of either of the original films.


From its start, Vampires Suck aims its jokes at the emo angst that fuels the Twilight movies. While much of the humor is, by default, sexual or physical, some of it achieves genuine wit. Calling the book’s Cullen family the “Sullens,” for example, may be obvious, but it made me chuckle. Most of the remaining energy here is spent dredging up a series of sorry pop culture references that assume that the audience has been on the planet for about three months. Furthermore, there is an unfortunate tendency to explicitly name-check any reference that is made, lest the film’s audience feel dumb.  The ensemble here isn't exactly filled with comic geniuses, so much of the humor falls flat. Most successful, by far, is Jenn Proske, who plays Becca, the series’ heroine. Proske is always breathy, playing with her hair, and on the verge of tears. Her limitations are at once a mean-spirited reflection on Stewart’s affectations and a tribute, of sorts, that reminds audiences what a distinctive character Stewart has crafted.


Obviously, Vampires Suck is not a good film, but that it’s not a complete and total abomination makes the attempt feel like something close to progress for its creators. Perhaps there was nowhere to go but up following the aptly named Disaster Movie and the execrable Meet the Spartans, but there you have it. Vampires Suck has no particular reason to exist and will likely be forgotten by this time next year, but in its wholesale appropriation of the Twilight narrative it approximates something resembling cohesiveness, which is more than can be said for most of these unfortunate overextended skits posing as movies.




Jeremy Heilman