This Day in Horror

24 January 2013

Vamp U 2013 - REVIEW

You know those nasty little previews at the beginning of every DVD/Blu-ray? The ones most people will fast forward through? Don't worry, I'm guilty of doing it myself sometimes. Have you ever tried to do it with a Disney film?!? It's like trying to crack some kind of ancient code or something! My point is, IF that's the kind of thing you normally do, you should reconsider. Especially if it's one from an independent company because most of the time you will come across one that you've never heard of that puts up a trailer that really peaks your interest. Just give it a try next time you pop that movie in the old player ;)

Wayne Gretzky (Adam Johnson), no relation, is the coolest history teacher on campus. So cool in fact that his nickname is "The Great One". Just so happens, he's also a vampire. A rather harmless vampire because you see, 300 years ago he accidentally killed the love of his life, Mary (Julie Gonzalo) and since then, it's left him with a little problem... he's impotent. That's right, his teeth won't grow. He's unable to "vamp out" no matter how hard he tries. That is until he meets college freshman, Chris (also Julie Gonzalo) who is the spitting image of his dear Mary. They begin a torrid love affair until one fateful day when Wayne vamps out and bites her. Not enough to kill her but more than enough to turn her. Now, along with a couple of bumbling students (Matt Mattson and Maclain Nelson) who innocently happened along his secret, they devise a plan to stop her before she either turns or eats the entire campus.

This film has two major elements going for it... one is the writing and the other is the cast. It's been a while since I've seen a film where the cast played SO WELL off each other. Johnson is phenomenal as the dysfunctional vampire trying hard to work through his "issue" with the school psychologist played by the hilarious Gary Cole. Once he starts vamping out again, he spends quite a bit of time trying to hide it which leads to one amusing moment after another. I can't say enough about this group as a whole that would do them justice. But the the biggest laughs come from  Mattson who had me cracking up within the first few minutes of the film. He stands out in his supporting role and manages to dominate every scene he's in. Admittedly though, he wouldn't be as funny if he didn't have Nelson next to him. The comedic timing between these two was priceless and if you're unable to find them funny.... you must be dead inside.

Written and directed by Nelson and Matt Jespersen, Vamp U is packed full of vampiry fun. I found myself laughing out loud through out the whole film. One word.... guitar. The dialogue is well written with some off handed nods to iconic shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and one liners that will most likely leave you giggling like a little kid. Of course it's not a perfect film, the ending was a little abrupt and there were a couple of sub-plots I would've liked to have seen explored a little more but it's clear that Nelson and Jespersen have a firm grip on film making. They took great care in developing their characters and building a solid horror/comedy. Speaking of horror, I do feel obligated to tell you that there is not much in the way of horror here but that doesn't take away from the fact that it's a lighthearted and entertaining film that will hopefully garner much praise. I would recommend this over and over to anyone looking for a charming little independent film that more than hits it's mark.

Look for it on VOD & Digital 2/12/13 and on DVD 3/12/13




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