Several people have recommended this to me, but I am always hesitant when it comes to watching parodies of this sort. There is almost never a real reason for these films to exist, and they are also nearly impossible to review. But a few months ago I found a DVD of this film, new and sealed, in the 1-Euro-baragain-bin – so it was hard to say no. And since I have just watched the entire Twilight franchise, this seems a suitable time to watch this one as well.
Vampires Suck was written and directed by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, a team that has spent the past 17 years doing basically nothing else but churning out blockbuster parodies. The film hails from 2010. So, unlike the later parody, Breaking Wind (not by Friedberg/Seltzer), which I have not seen, Vampires Suck can only use the first two Twilight films for reference, although they also managed to squeeze in a reference to the recasting of a supporting role in Eclipse – news of which must just have become public knowledge as Vampires Suck was filming.
My problem with these types of satires is that they are pretty much one-note, and have a very specific set of references. Most of these satires take on an entire genre (e. g. Not Another Teen Movie), which means a lot of people can watch these films and understand at least some of the references; but these films still do not age well, as the references slowly become irrelevant.
With Vampires Suck, it is even more tricky. By not spoofing an entire genre but only one particular franchise, the target audience narrows. The references are so specific that you need to have seen the first two Twilight films. But that means that your target audience has to include many fans of the franchise, and as a writer you then need to work out how to make fun of the franchise without insulting the very people you need to recruit your audience from.
I am not sure if the team behind Vampires Suck have succeeded in this. I get the references, because I’ve seen the films; and I find some of the jokes funny. But I am not sure how a passionate Twilight fan would feel about them.
The “plot” of this spoof takes elements of the plot of Twilight and of the plot of New Moon and combines them into one story. “Becca” has just moved to “Sporks” to live with her father. She does not like being the new kid at school, and she is very much a loner/emo type of girl. She meets Edward and Jacob, and the rest is history…
I have to admit that the writers seem to know their source material very well, and they studied the weaknesses of the Twilight film franchise. There is not only a great attention to detail, but it is also evident that a certain amount of work (and production values) has gone into making the most out of these observations and copying certain visual aspects of the franchise.
There are jokes in this film about things in the franchise being cheesy and obvious – and this method of story-telling is than named “Hardwicke 101”, after the director of the first Twilight film. The bad “fast running“ CG-work from that film is also being spoofed – by suggesting they look like Edward is using a Segway™.
There is also a lot of attention to detail in the writing and acting of “Becca”, who proves to be a very good parody of Bella Swan. Edward and Jacob are also spoofed, as are Alice, Bella’s school-mates, and the Volturi. But none of these spoofs match the precision that has been invested into “Becca”.
So there are a number of amusing ideas, including a running gag about people not noticing the existence of vampires despite that existence being absolutely obvious. There are also a number of funny lines and fun scenes. Unfortunately, however, all of this is massively undercut by a lot of juvenile humour and buried under an avalanche of immature jokes. Part of that may be because people expect this kind of humour in these types of films. But maybe the constant need to provide a new gag every 10 seconds contributed to that as well.
Fans of the vampire genre will notice one reference to Buffy, one to True Blood, and one to The Vampire Diaries in this film – which feels odd, as it seems that you should either include other franchises in your parody or not, but not sprinkle in one reference each.
Jenn Proske does a great job as “Becca”, a role which – as I said – received a lot of attention in the writing and in the acting, with Proske being very good at imitating a few core elements of Bella Swan’s behaviour. There are other good performances as well, but in general these kinds of parodies do not lend themselves to showcasing talent. The more famous faces in this film belong to veteran actor Diedrich Bader, who is wasted in this film, and to Ken Jeong (The Hangover trilogy). You might also recognise David DeLuise (another offshoot of the DeLuise family), B. J. Britt (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), and Zane Holtz (From Dusk Till Dawn – The Series).
As I said, I am not sure who this parody is for. With a more narrow focus than many of its cinematic siblings, Vampires Suck can only have appeal for people with a great deal of knowledge of Twilight and New Moon. Passionate fans might not necessarily want to see their films spoofed; while most others will not care enough to see Vampires Suck (or understand most of the references). For the few people in the middle, I believe that many of those things spoofed in the film (like all those things summed up under the term “Hardwicke 101”) already feel like a self-parody within the Twilight franchise, with any further attempt at parody seeming rather redundant.
So, while there are some fun ideas in this film and some attention to detail (especially in the writing and acting of “Becca”), this is still a sub-par comedy and a pretty unnecessary film. And I do not know who I should actually recommend this film to.
Rating: 3.0 to 3.5 out of 10