Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
USA, 2012. Lucky Monkey Pictures, Red Hour Films, Alvernia Production, Parlay Films, Electric Shadow USA, Alvernia Studios, Vamps. Screenplay by Amy Heckerling. Cinematography by Tim Suhrstedt. Produced by Maria Teresa Arida, Adam Brightman, Stuart Cornfeld, Molly Hassell, Lauren Versel. Music by David Kitay. Production Design by Dan Leigh. Costume Design by Mona May. Film Editing by Debra Chiate.
Alicia Silverstone plays a vampire who has been roaming Manhattan since the 1840s when her “stem” (Sigourney Weaver) turned her into a bloodsucker. In the nineties, Silverstone was given a companion in the form of Krysten Ritter, and now the two of them spend their days in side-by-side coffins and their nights eating rats (because consuming humans is so last century). Trouble comes in many forms when Ritter falls in love with Dan Stevens as the son of famed vampire hunter Van Helsing (played by Wallace Shawn) while Weaver’s indulgently killing everything in sight begins to make the bloodsuckers look bad to a city population that is very tentative in being welcoming of them as it is. Silverstone and Ritter could take their sire out, but killing a stem means that all her progeny is advanced to their real human age, which for Ritter is not the worst news but for Silverstone spells destruction. Amy Heckerling, once reliable for capturing a moment in youth culture with films like Fast Times At Ridgemont High and Clueless, uses the contemporary trend of vampire fiction to describe herself throwing her hands in the air and giving up on kids today: human zombies stare blankly at their phones, and popular culture that celebrates passable talent is criticized with clever poignancy but little lightness in a film whose aim is murky and whose tone is surprisingly bitter. It’s not as unwatchable as the setup might lead you to believe, and Silverstone is still a guilelessly charming star nearly two decades after her breakout hit, but the whole thing wanders around in search of inspiration and, beyond pointing out that things were better in the past (without the contemplative charm of Midnight In Paris), doesn’t really find it. Weaver has a terrific time camping it up in her few scenes, and some of the puns are clever, but Jim Jarmusch would do a far better job of using the vampire genre to poke fun at the soulless modern world in Only Lovers Left Alive.