Tuesday, March 19, 2013

VAMP U (2013) movie review

Vamp U (2013) (1st viewing) d. Jesperson, Matt / Nelson, Maclain (USA)

Don’t let the generic title (a considerable improvement over original moniker Dr. Limptooth) and poster art scare you off; this modest horror/comedy boasts bountiful bloodsucking rewards to be reaped.

When a bout of unbridled passion with lady love Julie Gonzalo leads to a fatal hickey, undead Adam Johnson swears off his vampy ways for centuries, now existing as a mild mannered, well-liked college professor. This arrangement works out fine, aided by the occasional therapy session with dubious doc Gary Cole, until Gonzalo reappears on campus as a new student. Is she resurrected, reincarnated or something else? Either way, her presence stokes (or perhaps Stokers) Johnson’s bloodlust back to full flower, leading to afterschool specials of the hot and hungry kind.

Thanks to their appealing cast’s slyly underplayed performances, co-writers/directors Jesperson and Nelson mine legitimate belly laughs from familiar fangboy terrain. The running gags (Wayne Gretzky, anyone?) are rarely pushed, allowing them to gain momentum on their own, with humor more grounded in character and situation than wacky hijinks...even within the goofier “slap-stake” sequences. Johnson and Gonzalo prove lively paramours, their supernatural situation escalating beyond mere inappropriate student/teacher relations.

Nelson also tenders solid work in front of the camera, nursing a decades-long crush on his childhood companion turned comely co-ed, and is well matched by loveably lunky pal Matt Mattson. Meanwhile, vamp-curious Cole is a riot, constantly inviting opportunities for Johnson to give a little nibble.

Despite near-incompletes in the flesh and blood departments, this is one indie treat that deserves a spot on horror fans’ class schedules. Available now on DVD and VOD.

--Aaron Christensen, HorrorHound Magazine

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