Rose Hathaway is a dhampir, half-vampire and half-human, who is training to be a guardian at St Vladimir's Academy along with many others like her. There are good and bad vampires in their world: Moroi, who co-exist peacefully among the humans and only take blood from donors, and also possess the ability to control one of the four elements - water, earth, fire or air; and Strigoi, blood-sucking, evil vampires who drink to kill. Rose and other dhampir guardians are trained to protect Moroi and kill Strigoi throughout their education. Along with her best friend, Princess Vasilisa Dragomir, a Moroi and the last of her line, with whom she has a nigh unbreakable bond, Rose must run away from St Vladimir's, in order to protect Lissa from those who wish to harm the princess and use her for their own means.
We all know that Vampires are so hot and they have been the flavour of the month for the past decade or so. From books through to movies it has been one of the core reading materials and forms of entertainment for young people (and cougars) for ages. So it makes sense that so many of these book series have made it onto the big screen. The Vampire Academy series started in 2007 and as of 2013, the series has sold 8 million copies in 35 countries. So you could say that this film already has an audience waiting for its cinematic version to arrive.
Now it is obvious that as a forty-year-old man I don't really fit in the target audience for this film, however I will say that even I enjoyed this film. For the most part there is a quirky coolness to the film. Sure at times it certainly gets a little cheesy and there were certainly moments when the audience of adults and reviewers snickered at the happy-go-lucky aimed-at-teens kind of content. For me though I know that it means that this film will likely go down very well with the young ladies.
The cast is pretty good and although there will be no Academy Awards to be won by them. Zoey Deutch does a solid job in the role of Rose Hathaway and brings a cool yet vulnerable side to the film. Coming from her previous role in Beautiful Creatures, she has certainly got her head around the whole supernatural teenager films genre. Perhaps if she had of been a little older she might have been in the Twilight Saga too… On the other side of the leading ladies coin is Lucy Fry who plays Lissa Dragomir, a formidable magical vampire type person who really doesn’t understand just how powerful and important she is.
There are plenty of little plot twists and turns that aren’t a complete surprise but for the younger audience I would guess they will be not so obvious to spot coming. Throw in some teenage romance and you have a perfect blend for the teenage girls likely to be in the audience.
Another reasonably solid cinematic version of a best-selling book series that will have the teenage girls having a blast at the movies. However it is rated M for good reason.
DVD Releases: 2nd July 2014
Rating: M - Contains violence and sexual references
Duration: 105 minutes
Starring: Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry, Danila Koslovsky, Olga Kurylenko, Claire Foy, Cameron Monaghan, Sami Gayle, Joely Richardson, Gabriel Byrne
Director: Mark Waters (Mr Poppers Penguins, Mean Girls)
RRP: DVD $39.95 Blu-Ray $44.95
Sarah Hyland (From TV's Modern Family), who plays Natalie Dashkov, auditioned over Skype.
Lucy Fry did not receive a callback for the first casting. When the producers started accepting self-tapes she submitted one that landed her a studio callback.
Dominic Sherwood was the last to be cast. He was cast a few days before filming started.
The psi-hounds were originally filmed using trained dogs, but director Mark Waters was not happy with the way they looked. They were replaced with CGI dogs, modeled off a drawing author Richelle Mead made for Waters.