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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Vampires Suck (Blu-ray)
Vampires Suck (Blu-ray)
Fox // PG-13 // November 30, 2010 // Region A
List Price: $39.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Adam Tyner | posted December 4, 2010 | E-mail the Author
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Sssshh! Don't tell anyone, but: I didn't hate Vampires Suck.

I'm supposed to. I mean,
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it's from Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, the guys who made Disaster Movie, Epic Movie, Date Movie, and, like, nineteen other __________ Movies. It's rocking a 4% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and 18% on Metacritic. Chalk it up to lowered expectations, maybe, but I waltzed in expecting the worst and came out with kind of a shrug. Not that "surprisingly tolerable" or "the least worst bad movie I've endured this year" are gonna get me quoted on the poster or anything, but whatever.

Anyway, Friedberg and Seltzer's tried-and-really-not-all-that-true tactic usually isn't parody so much as a pop culture blitzkrieg: y'know, whatever was getting riffed on The Soup seven months ago. I mean, Borat might show up in a mankini, say "very nice!", and walk off. They aren't jokes: they're references. The plots for Friedberg and Seltzer's flavor of dreck usually string together whatever's in the trailers for that summer's tentpole blockbuster types and awkwardly try to piece all of it together into a comedy. Vampires Suck, meanwhile, sticks to poking fun at the Twilight franchise. Twilight's pretty much a perfect target for parody, being so ridiculous and yet taking itself so seriously, plus it gives Friedberg and Seltzer more focus than they've ever really had before. Concentrating on one franchise inspires the two of 'em to be more clever than the rest of the Movie Movies, so instead of Mr. T showing up and saying "I pity the vampire fool", and then another character helpfully explains that this is indeed Mr. T from the 1980s NBC action series The A-Team, and then a buffalo falls on him, you actually get something resembling parody. Vampires Suck mocks the slo-mo longing glances from the first Twilight flick, f'r instance. Becca slaps on her headphones, cues up the "Teen Angst Mix" on her iPod, and a dead-on spoof of the mopey indie rock from the Twilight soundtracks kicks in. There's a "Sad Misunderstood New Student with Crappy Old Truck Parking Only" sign in the Sporks High parking lot. I'm not saying it's genius or anything, but a couple of them got a laugh, and it shows that Friedberg and Seltzer really are capable of actual parody when they put their minds to it.

Unlike the chintzy, cut-rate Disaster Movie, the look of Vampires Suck is pretty slick. A lot of care clearly went into crafting an angsty indie rock soundtrack that genuinely sounds like real songs. I'm also really impressed with the cast. Jenn Proske (playing almost-Bella), Matt Lanter (sparkly vampire Edward), and Chris Riggi (Jacob the dog-faced boy) strike an absolute perfect balance between the mopey angst of Twilight and the deliriously over-the-top cartooniness a parody like this demands. The three of 'em really throw themselves into this, and they grab hold of a lot of lackluster gags and elevate them into something better. It's also not hard to argue that they're prettier than the stars of the actual Twilight series, especially the ridiculously cute Jenn Proske.

So, yeah: I like the cast, I think the whole thing is surprisingly well-produced, and the writing's marginally
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stronger than any of the other _____________ Movies. With all that out of the way, I guess this is around the time I'm supposed to start bitching. Admittedly, Vampires Suck is more focused than any of Friedberg and Seltzer's other flicks, and it skips past a lot of the really obvious targets I was expecting. I mean, Michael Jackson doesn't come back as a vampire. There's no two-years-too-late nod to The Hangover. No blue critters from Avatar square off against the undead cast of Sex and the City II. There are still a fair number of lazy reference jokes, though, including random cameos by Lady Gaga and the guidos from Jersey Shore. Alice from ...in Wonderland shows up for whatever the hell reason. You might get a thinly-sketched one-liner as an excuse to drop 'em in, but generally, you're just supposed to point and laugh because a Lady Gaga impersonator is in front of the camera. (On the other hand, there's a great crack at the Jonas Brothers, so sometimes they can make this work.) Friedberg and Seltzer are still terrified that viewers might not get their references, so they take something that's really not funny in the first place and make it worse by overexplaining it. Saying that the evil murderous vampire types look like The Black Eyed Peas is kinda funny. Following that up by pointing at each of them and explaining which member of The Black Eyed Peas they resemble is really, really, really not. "Not funny" pretty much sums it all up. Jacob scratches for fleas and pees on a fire hydrant because he's a werewolf. Get it? Edward sparkles in the sunlight because his pee-pee is a disco ball. Get it? Oh, Edward's vampire family just offered Becca finger food...and they're actual fingers! On a platter and everything! Get it? The vamps start chomping on a Chinese delivery guy, but they'll probably be hungry in half an hour. Get it? Oops, Becca's nose is bleeding...she probably shouldn't have partied with Lindsay Lohan last night. Get it?

Vampires Suck may not be good in the sense of...well, anything, ever, but it somehow manages to be surprisingly watchable. Vampires Suck breezes along too quickly to ever get boring, so I didn't find myself checking my watch every twenty seconds the way I do with a lot of bloated, meandering comedies these days (look forward to more jabs at The Other Guys in a week or two!). It's kinda nice to see that someone has a sense of pace and remembers a time when comedies didn't need to run as long as Apocalypse Now. Again, I really dig the cast, the production values are shockingly high, and this is easily the best comedy that Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer have helmed yet. Maybe that's like talking about the best type of hernia, so don't take that as an actual recommendation or anything, but...yeah. I don't hate Vampires Suck. That's a long, long way from "I like it!", but for someone who really loves or really can't stomach Twilight, I seriously might consider it as a rental. Rent It.


Video
Trash the movie all you want, but Vampires Suck still looks kinda gorgeous in high-def. Fine detail and contrast are both first-rate, and the palette convincingly mimics Twilight's frigid blues and greens. The movie's faintly gritty texture gives Vampires Suck a nicely filmic look to it, and there's no sign of any heavy-handed digital noise reduction. I couldn't spot any edge enhancement, digital artifacting, speckling or wear...pretty much everything in the Blu-ray Reviewer Big Book of Things to Bitch About is pulled off really well this time around. No, the one flaw I came across a few times here is a little more exotic. There's some text that's splashed across the screen really early on that's strangely aliased, and a few patterns -- foliage in just about any wide shot as well as the straw blanketing the forest when Becca's stranded out that way -- are shimmering and unstable. That's enough to ding the overall score down by at least a half-star. Other than that, though, Vampires Suck looks pretty much perfect on Blu-ray.

Vampires Suck is served up on a dual layer Blu-ray platter. The image has been lightly letterboxed to an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and has been encoded with AVC. Fox has taken advantage of seamless branching to pile on these two different cuts of the movie rather than needlessly bothering with separate encodes for each.


Audio
Vampires Suck also sports a pretty solid 24-bit, six-channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. The movie's dialogue remains consistently clean and clear throughout, even when you kinda wish it wouldn't. All the punches, kicks, and cripple-rassling are reinforced by a meaty low-end. The angsty indie rock comes through sounding rich and full-bodied too. The surrounds aren't spastic but get a reasonable amount of use: mostly atmospheric rather than to punctuate the action, although there is some of that, like when...um, Becca farts which sends Edward tumbling out her bedroom window. It's a solid track for this sort of comedy, and I don't have any gripes.

A Dolby Digital 5.1 dub in French has also been crammed on here along with subtitles in English (SDH) and Spanish.


Extras
This Blu-ray disc piles on two cuts of Vampires Suck: the PG-13 theatrical cut and an unrated version. The difference in runtime is less than
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two minutes, but it looks like there are tons of little changes scattered throughout. I don't really care enough to seek out what the exactly differences are, but I'm guessing it's mostly raunchier dialogue. There's nothing I don't think wouldn't have slunk by with an R, and if you were keeping your fingers crossed for titties or anything, then...well, no. Sorry.
  • Deleted Scenes (12 min.; HD): There are nine extended and deleted scenes in all, and a lot of 'em are really minor additions: more "_______ parking only" signs at school, more of Becca's sleepwalking rampage, more of Channing TatumJohn's love letter to Jennifer, more Mexicans-as-evil-evil-villains, more gags about the prom king/queen voting...yeah. Ken Jeong is wasted in the final cut of the flick as a moustache-twirling evil vampire, but some of his stuff in the reel of deleted scenes is actually pretty good. There's also a gag where Becca shows off how reckless she is by making out with a dumpy, herpetic biker, and there's also a quick peek at John when he comes back from Iraq.

  • Gag Reel (4 min.; HD): Cracking up! Falling down! Fumbling with props! Impromptu dancing! Yup, it's a gag reel.

  • Trailer (2 min.; HD): ...and yeah, there's a high-def theatrical trailer too.

Vampires Suck does have one other extra, but because Fox wants to pretend that anyone cares about BD Live, you have to download it online even though there's plenty of real estate free on the disc. "Who Makes a Better Lover? Vampires or Werewolves" spends two minutes alternating between one-liners from the cast and clips from the movie. It's a promotional piece, really.


The Final Word
I know I'm supposed to get all snarky and bitchy about Vampires Suck, and...yeah, it's pretty terrible. At the same time, at least it's never boring, and I laughed a couple of times, which is more than I can say for a lot of comedies. I'd rather watch this again than The Other Guys, and the kinda-sorta promise that Vampires Suck offers up is enough to make me think that Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer may hammer out a worthwhile parody one day after all. I'll give it a marginal "eh, I guess you might find it worth a rental" recommendation, so...sure! Rent It. Maybe.
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