Though we get the easy joke, you've got to give credit to co-writer/directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer for two things. Firstly, thanks for lobbing us an easy one with that title, in case we want to riff on it in our reviews, and I guess thanks for making a movie that really does suck, a whole bunch, so that we may take advantage of the aforementioned lob. And it seems we probably should, since, less a satire of the current media craze for vampires, and more a half-hearted spoof on Twilight, Vampires Suck sacrifices laughs for plot, missing the entertainment mark by a mile on both counts.
Friedberg and Seltzer might not exactly be household names to Joe Blow out there, but you'll recognize their output, in that they're responsible for nearly every modern spoof movie from Scary Movie straight into the DVD gutter. Taking up where the notorious Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker triumvirate (Airplane!) left off, Friedberg and Seltzer at first got it right, cramming their films with references to numerous movies and plenty of zany humor. However as their careers drag on they seem to have forgotten from whence they came, as jokes come more and more infrequently and attempts to instill their movies with plot render their efforts limp. They've reached a sort-of nadir with Vampires Suck, a movie that can only appeal to - and insult - the Twilight target audience. That's certainly a large group of people, but not one likely to flock to a movie skewering their totemic object of devotion. It doesn't leave much room for failure, does it?
Sadly, the movie pulled in almost 80 million dollars worldwide, quadrupling its production costs, and cementing the idea that tired ideas turned into crap is a viable Hollywood business model. Of course no one listens to we woeful critics, who - over at Rotten Tomatoes - have lambasted the movie with a 4% positive rating. But I know you, dear reader, will heed my advice, and rent this dog at your own peril. In fact you're only likely to rent it if you've been living inside a tree for the last ten years, so for those few of you, I'll clue you in a bit. Twilight is about a teenaged girl forced to move to a small Washington logging town, wherein her virginal hotness attracts not only the local vampires, but also werewolves. Torn between two super-hot hotties; the pale, pouty vampire and the virile, Native American werewolf, heroine Bella must decide to whom she wants to give it up. High School girls and Middle Aged Women the world over became way confused by this enchanting plot, and Series Novelist Stephanie Meyer lined up behind J.K. Rowling to become a billionaire.
Pretty much the same stuff happens in Vampires Suck only this time around it's dull and tedious. In fact Friedberg and Seltzer seem to point out that Twilight itself is kind of tedious, missing the connection that a parody of tediousness is itself going to be tedious. Taking into account the narrow purview of Suck we're left with a smattering of gags predicated on boneheaded literal interpretations of figures of speech, (much to the delight of 5-year-old punsters everywhere) and jokes bluntly stating the obvious, pounded home by characters breaking the fourth wall. Though every now and then casually tossed out lines like, "damn, girl, you look really boring and frigid ... do you wanna go to the prom?" drag out a laugh, and knowing bits such as likening a group of evil vampires to the pop group Black Eyed Peas might make you chuckle, that stuff is too few and far between. Not even the eerily amusing Ken Jeong as evil vampire Daro can save a movie that culminates with a naked, sparkly vampire sporting a disco ball where his owns should be.
At least the movie looks good in its widescreen 1.85:1 ratio presentation. Those washed out grey colors signifying the vampires are present, while robust flesh tones come into play whenever werewolves are on the prowl. The image is fairly sharp, crisp and clean, with nice detail levels, and a solid job authoring and transferring the movie means that compression artifacts are not a problem.
English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and French Dolby Surround Sound are offered, with the English track certainly sounding fine. Lots of nice audio placement makes for an easy-on-the-ears and engaging listen, and everything seems to be mixed really well, without argument between dialog and soundtrack music.
Both the Theatrical Version and Unrated Version are presented, though we watched the Unrated one, hoping for a little extra oomph. I'm not sure we got it. Five Deleted Scenes (about seven minutes total) merely increase the unnecessary nature of the movie, while you'll probably find as many laughs in the four-minute Gag Reel as you will in the rest of the movie. The Theatrical Trailer, some other Sneak Peeks, and English SDH and Spanish Subtitles complete the scanty picture.
Friedberg and Seltzer's Twilight spoof lacks the broad view of their earlier movies, denying the opportunity for multiple laughs with its narrow focus. Real Twihards probably won't want to watch, while no one else needs to, since the dearth of jokes means that those few sticking around have a harder time bearing the weight. Heavy-handed bits of obvious humor, doled out sparingly, do not a worthwhile time make. Does Vampires Suck suck? Yes, so Skip It.
- Kurt Dahlke
~ More of Dahlke's DVD Talk reviews here at DVD Talk I'm not just a writer, I paint colorful, modern abstracts, too! Check them out here KurtDahlke.com