Vamp U (2011)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Vamp U</strong> (2011)

(On Cable TV, January 2014) The obvious jokey review here is that vampire comedy Vamp U truly sucks, but that’s not quite enough to capture the lack of humor that so often kills this film. The low production budget is obvious in the lack of visual ambition and often-clumsy way the scenes are blocked and edited. That could have forgiven with a better script, but Vamp U is tormented by a truly ineffective sense of humor: the shot-per-shot pacing of the film often pauses for unexplainable reasons, until you realize that the last line is supposed to be a joke and the viewers are supposed to be laughing. The duds are loud and numerous, and they’re never as annoying as where they’re supposed to be recurring gags: The “Wayne Gretsky” naming thing never works, and neither do the “Amish” or the breaking-guitar bits. The actors are decidedly not at the top of their profession (although Adam Johnson and Julie Gonzalo have a few good moments), but the script does them no favours by establishing faintly obnoxious characters. The first act of Vamp U takes forever to set up the film’s most interesting question, and nearly each meager plot point taking two or three scenes to be established as if the viewers couldn’t be trusted to keep up with the film’s already glacial pacing. The action picks up in the last half-hour, but then Vamp U turns disturbingly misogynistic as three big guys take turns to graphically slaughter a large number of young women. (They’re supposed to be vampires, but that doesn’t make it any less troublesome to watch. Added to the ick-factor of a professor sleeping with a student earlier in the film, it doesn’t make for a film that you’d recommend to others.) At times, Vamp U is so amateurish that it threatens the most basic willing suspension of disbelief: it’s nowhere as good as the similar Transymania (which is saying something) and its most redeeming quality may be that it makes many other low-budget witless comedies look good in comparison. What, you say that Kickstarter was instrumental in finishing the film? Well huh…

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