Movie News & Reviews

'Vampires Suck': Living up to its name

Jenn Proske plays Becca Crane (read Bella Swan) and Matt Lanter is Edward Sullen (rhymes with Cullen).
Jenn Proske plays Becca Crane (read Bella Swan) and Matt Lanter is Edward Sullen (rhymes with Cullen). Alan Markfield

The makers of Epic Movie and Meet the Spartans have a new film out, and it's probably their best work to date.

That's most definitely a backhanded compliment, but the fact that Vampires Suck is a step above god-awful is something of a miracle. It's like watching the kid who always turns in nothing but a blank paper suddenly score a C-minus on his chemistry final. One has to wonder if he was looking at someone else's paper.

For those who have missed this recent string of Airplane-without-the-funny spoof movies, the formula is simple: Writer-directors Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg take a movie genre that is popular with young people, cast inexpensive actors, then insert a ton of slapstick, gross-out scenes and apropos-of-nothing jokes.

Vampires Suck has all of this and more, passing off as humor a baby getting hit by a bowling ball and threats of bodily harm against a man in a wheelchair. A compound fracture is used as a punch line, and then shown again and again, as if the sight of someone's spine sticking out of their neck can get funnier. What's most disappointing isn't the obviousness of the humor, but how dated some of it is. The Segway scooter was a decent sight gag — the first 10,000 times it was used in film and television. .

Vampires Suck looks as if it cost less than the typical Bon Jovi video to make, mines gay stereotypes (werewolves in cut-off jeans singing It's Raining Men) and manages not a single memorable joke at the expense of the easiest target in the world: Stephenie Meyer fans.

And yet ... there are small signs of progress. Maybe it's the Twilight movies source material, which has long since become self-parody, making it easier to lampoon. Vampires Suck is more focused than this team's other efforts. Several of the actors have decent comic timing, even when there's very little material to work with.

The high points? There's a semi-funny joke at the expense of the Black-Eyed Peas. Dave Foley keeps his streak alive — he has appeared for at least two minutes in every crappy movie of the 21st century. And the running time is a merciful 80 minutes. That's the one reliably great thing about bad movies: Most are short.