Vampire Academy (PG-13)

Action/Adventure 104 min. February 7, 2014
By Amy Nicholson
For smart, strong girls and the guys who like them, Vampire Academy will hit a vein. "Goodbye Facebook, goodbye iPhone — hello St. Vladimir’s," groans dropout Rose Hathaway (Zoey Deutch) when she and her best friend, Lissa (Lucy Fry), are dragged back to the titular school they ditched when they ran away to live normal-ish lives in Portland, Ore. Despite their year outside the gates, human culture remains a mystery: Lissa tried to blend in by hanging posters of Jimmy Carter. At least there's more than enough distracting drama in school. While Lissa, a feathery, fragile blonde, and her fellow vampires study magic, their guardians, like Rose, take up fight training to protect their BFFs. Fast-talking Rose — a girl Friday in leggings — is the Kevin Costner to Lissa's Whitney Houston, a best-friend dynamic familiar to any girl who was ever half of an intense, almost overwhelming high school dyad. It's also cause for queen bitch Mia's (Sami Gayle) snickering whisper campaign that Rose must let Lissa feed on her. (And once you get a reputation as a blood whore, creeps assume you give platelets on the first date.) This is all silly stuff, but consider this: Director Mark Waters helmed Mean Girls, and screenwriter Daniel Waters penned Heathers. People dismiss films about teen girls, as though that audience's agonies and fears and passions are forever lesser than those of a grown man in tights. But the Waters brothers' work can't be tossed aside. Like their earlier comedies, Vampire Academy nimbly balances teen paranoias with real threats (here, the deadly Strigoi clan of bloodsuckers who want to chew up the school). And it knows that friendship — not romance — is a 17-year-old girl's true obsession.
Mark Waters Danila Kozlovsky, Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry, Gabriel Byrne, Olga Kurylenko, Cameron Monaghan, Claire Foy, Sarah Hyland, Sami Gayle, Dominic Sherwood Daniel Waters Don Murphy, Deepak Nayar, Susan Montford, Michael Preger The Weinstein Company

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