It is essential to watch a movie with the target audience in mind; otherwise, one would be highly disappointed if the feature doesn’t meet their set expectations. This is more of what ‘Teenage Vampire’ is. Sticking true to the title, this film is meant for teenagers. So if viewed from a teenage perspective or if it is a movie being viewed by the whole family, then the perspective and reaction change.
‘Teenage Vampire’ is written and directed by Aaron Lee Lopez and stars Claire Tablizo as Chase, a nerd and a bowling fan, Jaeden Riley Juarez as her best friend Pam and her bowling team member, Gabby Garcia as Sin, the head of the cheerleading squad, Mick Buck as Sean, the hottest guy in school, Tres Allison as Dean, Chase’s younger brother and a comic book nerd and Cynthia Fray as Ms. Rooney the cheer leaders’ trainer among many others.
The movie is a typical high school tale with a little bit of a supernatural twist to it. Chase and Pam are best friends who go to the same school. They both love bowling but are not popular at all. In fact, they are barely noticeable. Part of the reason they feel they are invisible is that they feel like they are too uptight. So they make a pact to loosen up and agree to everything they come across regardless of how crazy it seems, and that includes joining the Cheer leaders’ squad, which is populated only by the coolest girls in school.
There are new girls in the school and a mysterious new cheerleading teacher after the previous one goes missing. The two friends decide to audition, but only Chase gets in. Now that she has made the team, she is considered part of the team and is lured into becoming a vampire with promises that she will get popular and be able to attract the boy of her dreams, which happens and it is hard to judge from her actions whether she is thrilled about it or not, even though the dialogue says so.
All this might sound silly, but it is enticing for a teenage girl in a school where being famous is everything. Spoiler alert, Chase doesn’t kill anyone, so she doesn’t become a full vampire in this movie. Vampirism of course affects her, and she starts behaving weirdly, which those close to Chase take notice of but don’t put much thought into it until she comes clean to her best friend and her brother, who is obsessed with Vampires learns of her secret accidentally.
After refusing to transform, Sin and her minions tell Chase to kill Pam and complete her initiation, but she refuses. The trio kidnaps Pam, Chase’s brother witnesses the ordeal, teams up with Sean. Together they go out armed with stakes, garlic and Holy water to take down the nightwalkers. After several attempts, they manage to bring down the damned circle, learning a substantial supernatural mystery behind the town and the vampires.
Teenage Vampire has a lot of plot holes. First, it’s very unwitty for Chase just to be lured into such an obvious trap without any resistance. She is considered smart; hence, she should have used her smarts to make the narrative more exciting. Secondly, the intention of Sin and her group isn’t clear at first. She’s at the school to feed and recruit girls into vampirism, but only two end up going through the change. A little bit of history could have enlightened the audience and cultivated more interest in the back story.
The movie is listed as a comedy, but one struggles to find a single gag in the narrative. Not the acting, not the storyline, the location, costume, camerawork, lighting or even the music, nothing. Everything is blatant and flat. It could maybe pass for a soft horror as there are barely any scary scenes. All one sees are the absurd looking fangs, but one never really sees anything gore on screen. No bloody mouths, no blood sputters, no bite marks on necks or even dismembered bodies. Every single macabre scene that would be expected in a horror movie, especially one involving bloodsuckers, is missing.
This might be a deal-breaker for horror die-hards, but one has to remember that it is meant for teens, so nothing gory or disturbing could be shown on screen. Also, this makes this movie suitable for the younger viewers as apart from the fangs, there really isn’t anything spooky.
In terms of the language, ‘Teenage Vampire’ is squeaky clean. No curse words, no foul language, no disrespectful dialogue, everything uttered is quite okay, making it ideal for the entire family. The filmmakers tried to keep the visuals as clean as possible in regards to sex scenes and naked stuff.
Apart from a few kissing incidences, which are pretty subtle, there are no nude girls or boys running around despite there being numerous parties and these parties are notorious for these kinds of activities. Also, there are some scenes mentioning drinking and a few guys peeing their pants due to scary encounters with the vampires, which aren’t extreme when it comes to decency.
The story kind of leaves the viewer hanging in some way. First, all the vampires are female, there is no single male, and no explanation is given for this. There is only one teacher teaching the class and it is always an English lesson. At the end of the story, we learn that Chase and Pam still remain vampires despite killing the head vampire. No reason is offered for this too.
The action scenes where Chase, Pam, Sean and Dean fight off the vampires are not convincing at all. They are very lame, to say the least, and Sin’s acting was a bit over the top, which made her character pretty annoying, but that could have been the initial intention, so maybe it worked. Most notable, though, the vampires in this film aren’t that scary.
From the target audience’s perspective, one can say that ‘Teenage Vampire’ is a good movie, entertaining and kind of resonating. From a parent or guardian’s perspective, one can consider it a suitable watch for their teens. However, it is a pure waste of time from an adult influenced by neither of the aforementioned situations.