The film opens with the return of Rose Hathaway, a Dhampir (half-vampire) guardian of her Moroi (peaceful, mortal vampire) BFF Lissa Dragomir, to Vampire Academy (actually called St. Vladimir’s Academy) after a year on the run. Tough, motormouth Rose (played by the impressive Zoey Deutch) isn’t happy to be back at school, where rumors of how she spent her year on the run abound and where Lissa (Lucy Fry), an actual vampire princess, is vulnerable to cliques and status. The girls must figure out how to stop a plot of immortal, bloodthirsty vampires from eliminating Lissa’s chance to inherit the throne as vampire queen while navigating the tricky world of high school romance, friendship, and everything in between. I compared it to Jennifer’s Body because the film understands that there is an element of sexuality in the friendship between teen girls, and Rose and Lissa’s relationship often goes right up to that line.
However, I still loved this movie more than I can reasonably explain. I loved it because high school is hell and because friendship is more important than romance. I loved the self-aware, punchy dialogue and the way the film works as both parody of and homage to supernatural romance. I think best of all I loved Lissa’s final speech to her classmates, which nestles itself snugly in the canon of teen films and works almost as a direct successor to Mean Girls. Tina Fey reminded us, in 2005, that girls have “got to stop calling each other sluts and whores.” But in Vampire Academy, Lissa directly chastises her classmates for slut-shaming and bullying. Teenage girls are literally doing it for themselves, and I am ready for the sequel as sure as I am ready for Dimitri’s haircut.
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