Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Vampires Suck

Illustration for article titled Vampires Suck

Praising the reviled filmmaking team of Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, creators of the Scary/Date/Epic/Disaster Movie spoofs, is something like doling out encouragement to small children. Just as tykes are regularly praised for tying their own shoes, picking out clothes, and going to the potty all by themselves, the Friedberg/Seltzer juggernaut of awfulness that is Vampires Suck merits commendation for such non-triumphs as telling a relatively coherent story, settling on one genre as a satirical target, and conveying a knowledge of its source material that goes beyond stumbling across it while channel-surfing or seeing it turn up under “Trending” on Twitter. The boys similarly deserve very minor props for choosing a satirical target that lends itself to satire: the glum, self-important Twilight novels and movies. Sadly, that’s where the filmmakers’ mild accomplishments end and the groaningly predictable hackwork begins.

Newcomer Jenn Proske nails Kristen Stewart’s trademark look of sullen, dead-eyed self-pity as a moody teenager who moves to a small town where a sizable percentage of the high-school students appear to be undead ghouls. Proske is instantly infatuated with pale, big-haired Robert Pattinson proxy Matt Lanter, but she’s also attracted to Chris Riggi, a lovesick werewolf whose dog-like qualities grow more pronounced as the film progresses.

Friedberg/Seltzer capture Twilight’s trembling earnestness and its recurring narrative and visual motifs (endless helicopter shots of lush forests, for example), only to use them as a crude framework for the same old lowest-common-denominator wackiness. The film’s most ambitious jokes find the cast foregrounding the subtext of the Twilight mythology in dialogue (like the central romance providing the ultimate safe fantasy for virginal girls), but mostly, the filmmakers fall back on ineptly executed pratfalls, gags involving violence against women (Proske, in particular, takes a beating) and clumsily integrated references to such already-dated pop-culture ephemera as Chris Brown and Buffy The Vampire Slayer. The filmmakers capture the Twilight aesthetic to such an extent that the film’s dour tone robs it of any energy or comic momentum. Vampires Suck finds Friedberg-Seltzer evolving ever so slightly, but adequacy remains out of their grasp, and mediocrity might just be an impossible goal. Oh well, at least the quest for non-terribleness gives them something to shoot for.