Transylmania, a comedy about US college students travelling to Romania for a semester abroad, is a mash-up between various strands of the teen comedy genre on the one hand and vampire films on the other. By 2009, modern teen comedies were looking back on one decade of uninterrupted output (some of it good, most of it bad), and Transylmania tried to put yet another angle on an already tired genre. So this film, despite its title, is definitely not meant for fans of vampire films. It is in fact a teen comedy (and not a good one), which just happens to have vampires in it.
A forced exposition (very much by-the-numbers), an assembly of extremely stereotypical characters, as well as a very crude and very old joke set the tone for this cinematic concoction even before the opening credits.
The opening credits themselves involve all the characters as animated figures in a style reminiscent of 1990s MTV clips. Mediocre as these credits are, they double as a montage surrogate, thus allowing the film to jump ahead into the final bit of the teenagers’ journey to Romania. This is commendable, as it spares the viewers pointless airport scenes, etc., and should have made it easy for the film to keep its pace. Unfortunately, the teenagers’ ride on the Romanian railways is dragged out far longer than necessary, in order to set up the vampires’ background story.
As is typical for many teen comedies, there are a number of more or less unrelated parallel plots, so that every character of the group is involved in some weird adventure or other.
The acting is neither here nor there – there is never enough substance in this film in order to tell if any of the actors are good or bad. For many of them, over-acting seems to be the answer to a pretty hollow and ridiculous script.
There is very little positive that can be said about this film. Some effort has been made with the set designs. The highest praise, maybe, would be to say that it is not quite as bad as the worst teen comedies (of which there are many). Nevertheless, the film suffers from a significant lack of good writing, and especially good jokes. I can laugh about dumb comedies, if they give me reason to. In this film there were no laughs for me.
It is not a film that is “so bad it’s good”; nor is it a film that is so bad it gets you worked up and inspires you to crush it with a damning review. Transylmania simply passes you by like a limp breeze of nothingness, leaving you entirely unaffected.
Strictly not recommended for fans of vampire films, as it isn’t one. Also not recommended for fans of teen comedies as there are much better ones.
Although this is not the worst of the worst, the blatant lack of intelligent funny lines and good jokes means that this “comedy”, for me, fails in the one area where it is not allowed to fail.
So I cannot rate Transylmania higher than 2.0 or 2.5 out of 10.