Vamps is basically a straight-to-DVD film, although it got a “courtesy release” in one or two cinemas around the same time as it hit the shelves.
This vampire comedy brings together two leading ladies that in spite of their young age can justly be called “comedy veterans”: Alicia Silverstone and Krysten Ritter. A fortuitous casting choice, as they are not only perfect for their respective characters, but also form a great duo.
There are also a number of great casting choices in the supporting roles, incl. Sigourney Weaver, and Wallace Shawn. Unfortunately, many of these great actors are in the film for only a very brief time, like Kristen Johnston, or have very little to work with, like Malcolm McDowell.
Unlike their fearsome boss (Sigourney Weaver), who terrorises them, our two protagonists are “vegetarian” vampires that only live of animal blood. Yet they will eventually find themselves the target of vampire hunters. They need to keep their wits about them to thwart threats from both sides and to find true happiness.
This is a plot not exactly new for a vampire comedy. And the film as a whole is a bit of a case of genuinely trying and yet missing the mark. The main plot is rather thin and predictable, yet at the same time has too many side-plots that are either not really related to the main plot or are never fully unfolded, so they sort of drag on and are then dispensed of.
There is just never enough character development, story progression, plot twists, or general tension or suspense – the narrative just sort of trots along…..
As for the themes of the film, relationships between humans and vampires and the whole “vegetarian” thing including AA style meetings, all of that seems rather old. The theme of sacrifice and love is also there, but is never employed to its full potential, probably because the writer/director Amy Heckerling (Clueless) wanted to avoid to dilute the comedy with too much drama.
Apart from the acting achievements by Ritter and Silverstone, the only really enjoyable aspect of the film is the way in which Silverstone’s character (because of her age and the perspective it gives her) constantly laments the modern age and its fashions, fads and fancies. There are a number of truths dished out there, although I doubt many people will realise that.
Many people seem to complain about the special effects in this film, which are extremely poor in places, but I personally can live rather well with embarrassing SFX in a comedy – it is only real mystery/horror where I find bad SFX annoying/distracting.
This is a nice little comedy with very convincing performances by its two female leads. Someone on imdb has called this film “cute”, and that describes it pretty well: it is a pleasant and uncomplicated film (yet too simple for my taste), which one might want to watch with friends on a rainy evening when no-one is in the mood for something more challenging.
The current imdb rating is 5.1 — I’d probably hand it a 5.5 (max. 6.0) out of 10.