'Vampire Academy' film adaptation receives mixed reviews (+video)

'Vampire Academy' is based on the book series by Richelle Mead.

By , Staff Writer

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    'Vampire Academy' stars Lucy Fry (l.), Zoey Deutch (center), and Sami Gayle.
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A film adaptation of the “Vampire Academy” book series by Richelle Mead has stumbled both financially and critically.

The book series consists of six books, with the first, “Vampire Academy,” having been released in 2007. The novels follow Rose Hathaway, who attends St. Vladimir’s Academy with her best friend Lissa.

The movie stars “Beautiful Creatures” actress Zoey Deutch as Rose and actress Lucy Fry as Lissa.

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“Vampire Academy” debuted Feb. 7 but grossed $4.1 million domestically, a poor box office report that most likely means a sequel won’t be greenlit. Reviews were mixed, with New York Times reviewer Manohla Dargis calling the film a “genre rehash.”

“[The movie] takes a helping of 'Harry Potter,' a measure of 'Mean Girls' and elements from various teenage adventures, monster movies and queen-bee stories and recombines the borrowed parts into an unsurprisingly familiar tale,” Dargis wrote. “What is surprising is that while the patchwork whole creaks terribly in places, the parts also show signs of life.”

Dargis called actor Danila Kozlovsky, who portrays mentor and love interest Dimitri, “appealing,” but writes that the struggle between vampire factions in the film is “formulaic and uninvolving” and that director Mark Waters “clearly didn’t have the budget to make what little hocus-pocus there is magical.” However, Dargis says Waters “manages the material with a winking irreverence that makes the movie breeze right along.”

Los Angeles Times critic Gary Goldstein called it a “likable comedic-thriller” but says that the complex rules of Mead’s vampire world are something the movie “continually strains to explain.”'

“Director Mark Waters (Daniel's brother) of 'Mean Girls' fame keeps the mayhem and magic moving apace so things are never boring; head-scratching maybe, but never boring,” Goldstein writes. “Deutch … is enjoyable formidable, bringing beauty, smarts, and charisma to her all-purpose heroine…. [T]he rest of the cast ... is a bit more forgettable.”

Entertainment Weekly writer Owen Gleiberman was less enamored, giving the movie a C.

“The most annoying thing about 'Vampire Academy' is that simply to watch this featherweight horror soap opera of mean-but-not-too-mean bloodsucking ingenues, you have to absorb an entire franchise cosmology – it's popcorn escapism as homework,” he wrote, though he calls Deutch “spunky.” 

If a sequel is indeed not pursued, "Vampire Academy" would be the newest YA franchise hopeful for which a franchise may not happen. The studios behind 2013's "Beautiful Creatures" and "Ender's Game" have not announced sequel plans for the movies. Fellow young adult film adaptation "The Mortal Instruments" did disappointingly at the box office and filming on a sequel was pushed back, although Constantin Film's Martin Moszkowicz said the studio hopes to begin production sometime this year, according to Entertainment Weekly.

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