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Thursday, May 8, 2014

'Vampire Academy' DVD and BD: Sanguine "Buffy"/"Chastity Bites"/"Harry Potter"/"Heathers" Mash-up

Product Details
The creative team behind the recent teen-oriented vampire flick "Vampire Academy," which is available for early digital download on May 9 2014 and comes out on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD on May 20, 2014, pulls off the neat trick of making the film entertaining for fanboys and girls of all ages.

The following spoiler-laden clip, courtesy of YouTube, conveys the spirit and humor of "Academy" well.

A nod to "The Vampire Diaries" early in the film by mentioning that the bloodsuckers in this one do not sparkle starts things out well. Other great humor relates to rural rhinoplasty and one effect of losing your virginity.

The aforementioned teens already likely know that the film is based on the novel by Richelle Mead; Mead further participates by filming a short special feature that praises "Academy" almost as strongly as Mark Hamill endorses the cast of the new "Star Wars" film.

An equally good special feature consists of an alternate opening scene, which is much more fanboy-oriented than the selected one.

The praise for the quality of "Academy" relates to having "Heathers" writer Daniel Waters and his brother director Mark Waters, who survived directing Lindsay Lohan in "Mean Girls," on board. Elements of those two classics are very apparent.

The "Harry Potter" like lore of "Academy" is that the Morois are good vampires who require including human blood in their diets and merely dislike being in the sun; the Dhampirs are half-breed human/vampire beings who exist to protect the Morois.

The evil Strigoi are the third group of pure vampires; one twist is that these villains typically voluntarily opt to go over to the dark side.

The titular private secondary school, which is formally named St. Vladimir's (but may not call their sports teams The Impalers), exists to prepare the Dhampirs and Morois for their adult lives; it is similar to any other high school except for the live bait in the cafeteria and the liberal use of magic in pranks.

Moroi princess Lissa is the Harry Potter of the tale in that she is a chosen one who rapidly becomes the target of a sinister plot on returning to Saint Vladamir's after an extended period on the run with Dhampir Rose; Rose is a more confident and stable Ron Weasley.

Elements of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" include Rose's dual roles of protecting Lissa and undergoing the demanding training that her pre-destined career requires. This dedication extends to literally sticking out her neck to aid Lissa.

The Lissa/Rose relationship (and the elements of blood and high school cliques) further evoke thoughts of the recent wonderfully campy horror comedy "Chastity Bites," which stars Alison Scagliotti of "Warehouse 13." An Unreal TV review of that one provides further insight regarding it.

Watching "Academy" during the same weekend as several episodes from the especially preachy second season of the '80s sitcom "The Facts of Life" evoked further thoughts of how the film portrays teen girl stereotypes and the experiences that this demographic endures during that period. One difference is that Jo never writes threats in human blood on the wall of Blair's room.

Of course, no teen vampire film would be complete without the stereotypical hunky and simply dreamy boys. Dark and brooding outisder Christian stands out for channeling the uber-awesome performance of then-newcomer Christian Slater in "Heathers."

"Academy" further offers the wonderful "Potter" elements of a few grand-scale battles, left-field twists in the final 30 minutes, and a cliffhanger that has fans eagerly awaiting the next installment.

The final grade for this film is that it earns a B+ for transforming a novel that it seems that only a 12-year-old girl who is not already sick of vampires would love into a fun film that is laden with elements of some of the best films and shows of the past 20 years.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Academy" is welcome to email me. You can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.